Plastic Surgery: Case Studies

Catalysis Importance

Catalysis (/kəˈtælÉ™sɪs/) is the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a substance known as a catalyst[1] (/ˈkætÉ™lɪst/), which is not consumed in the catalyzed reaction and can continue to act repeatedly. Because of this, only very small amounts of catalyst are required to alter the reaction rate in most cases. In general, chemical reactions occur faster in the presence of a catalyst because the catalyst provides an alternative reaction pathway with a lower activation energy than the non-catalyzed mechanism. In catalyzed mechanisms, the catalyst usually reacts to form a temporary intermediate, which then regenerates the original catalyst in a cyclic process. A substance which provides a mechanism with a higher activation energy does not decrease the rate because the reaction can still occur by the non-catalyzed route. An added substance which does reduce the reaction rate is not considered a catalys  but a reaction inhibitor (see below). Catalysts may be classified as either homogeneous or heterogeneous. A homogeneous catalyst is one whose molecules are dispersed in the same phase (usually gaseous or liquid) as the reactant's molecules. A heterogeneous catalyst is one whose molecules are not in the same phase as the reactant's, which are typically gases or liquids that are adsorbed onto the surface of the solid catalyst. Enzymes and other biocatalysts are often considered as a third category. In the presence of a catalyst, less free energy is required to reach the transition state, but the total free energy from reactants to products does not change.[1] A catalyst may participate in multiple chemical transformations. The effect of a catalyst may vary due to the presence of other substances known as inhibitors or poisons (which reduce the catalytic activity) or promoters (which increase the activity and also affect the temperature of the reaction). Catalyzed reactions have a lower activation energy (rate-limiting free energy of activation) than the corresponding uncatalyzed reaction, resulting in a higher reaction rate at the same temperature and for the same reactant concentrations. However, the detailed mechanics of catalysis is complex. Catalysts may bind to the reagents to polarize bonds, e.g. acid catalysts for reactions of carbonyl compounds, or form specific intermediates that are not produced naturally, such as osmate esters in osmium tetroxide-catalyzed dihydroxylation of alkenes, or cause dissociation of reagents to reactive forms, such as chemisorbed hydrogen in catalytic hydrogenation.

Relevant Topics in General Science