Products are formed when all reactants overcome a specific amount of energy, known as activation energy. The gap between the transition state energy and the energy of the reactant species is called the activation energy. Some reactant particles have sufficient kinetic energy to break through this barrier, while others do not.
Generally, not every chemical reaction takes place at the same rate. Consequently, reagents are introduced to lower the activation energy required for the conversion of reactants to products. These substances are known as catalyst, and catalysis is the process of reducing activation energy.
Requirements for catalysis
Catalysts are highly efficient substances that can catalyze many reactants with a small amount of catalyst. As a result, it is critical for process designers to thoroughly understand catalysts and their role in modifying reaction rates in specific reactions.
- Catalysts have characterized the production industry. Catalysts are used in almost all sectors that manufacture products and services to lower production costs, and increase output speed.
- Our bodies also have enzymes, which are catalysts that play a critical part in chemical reactions inside them. Catalysts play a crucial role in today’s environment. Therefore knowing a bit of them is always beneficial.
Types of catalysis
Catalysts speed up a reaction without changing its chemical or physical properties. As previously stated, catalysts lower the energy barrier for converting reactants to products. The various types of catalysis are:
Homogeneous Catalysis: Homogeneous catalysis of chemical changes is a procedure in which the reactants and catalyst are in the same phase. For instance, sugar hydrolysis in the presence of sulphuric acid.
Heterogeneous Catalysis: In chemical reactions, heterogeneous catalysis refers to a process in which the reactants and catalysts are in different stages. For instance, ammonia is formed when hydrogen and nitrogen react in the presence of finely divided iron.
Autocatalysis: There is no specific catalyst used in autocatalytic reactions. However, one of the products works as a catalyst, speeding up the process of product production. For example, Arsenic generated in the reactor acts as anautocatalyst for the decomposition of Arsene (AsH3).
Enzyme catalysis: The process of enzyme catalysis occurs when a biological component, often an enzyme, increases the rate of a chemical reaction. Chemical reactions are involved in these processes, and catalysis occurs at a specific location known as the active site. Enzyme Catalyst are often known as biocatalysts that can be used to convert organic molecules. In general, a natural enzyme is a biological macromolecule created by living organisms. These are essentially complicated nitrogenous proteins that aid in the catalysis of metabolic activities in living organisms. More importantly, catalysts are required for all metabolic reactions in living organisms.
A catalyst always enhances the rate of a reaction; an inhibitor is any molecule that decreases the reaction rate. It has been discovered that a catalyst does not modify a reaction’s equilibrium constant, but rather accelerates both the backward and forward responses to achieve equilibrium quickly. Because a catalyst catalyzes both forward and backwards reactions to the same level, the equilibrium point remains constant and is rapidly reached, compared to a response without it.