Chemical Reactions and Catalysts
Catalysts are substances that increase the speed of chemical reactions without being used. A catalyst can speed up reactions by offering a lower-energy route for the reaction. This is known as the “activation energy” of the reaction and is the energy required to break down the reactants and form the products (Gillespie, 2018). The catalysts provide a platform for reactants to interact and bond to them temporarily, thereby allowing the reaction to progress at a lower activation rate (Snyder 2020). Because they are capable of speeding up chemical reactions that otherwise would take too much time, catalysts have a tremendous importance in the industry. A catalyst like nickel can speed up hydrogenation reactions, which are necessary to make margarine or other polyunsaturated oils. Additionally, automobile engines use catalysts to remove pollutants from the exhaust, and transform them into more harmful chemicals such as carbon dioxide and water vapour (Snyder, 2020). Chemical reactions can also benefit from the use of catalysts.