What is Catalyst:
A catalyst is a substance, simple or compound, that increases or reduces the speed of a chemical reaction, this process is called catalysis.
The word catalyst is also used to refer to people who manage to bring together different movements to carry out a collective reaction of great magnitude.
In the area of chemistry, catalysts are studied, substances that can be liquid, gaseous or solid, of organic, inorganic compounds or of complex combinations.
The main characteristic of the catalyst is that when participating in a chemical reaction, its mass does not suffer alterations, therefore, it is not considered as a reactant or product according to the stoichiometry of the reaction.
Catalysts are widely used in various industrial processes, for example in the oil industry. Among the most used solid substances such as boron, aluminum, nickel, palladium, silicon, platinum can be mentioned. There are also sulfides and chlorides, among others.
Catalysts are differentiated into positive catalysts and negative catalysts:
- Positive catalyst: it is the most common and used. It is responsible for increasing the speed of a chemical reaction.
- Negative Catalyst - Also known as an inhibiting catalyst, it slows down a reaction. It is less common, however, in the food industry it is often used with the aim of preventing rapid deterioration of food.
Types of catalysts
Below are the main types of catalysts.
- Homogeneous catalyst: it is one that is dissolved with the reactants or that is in the same phase.However, the catalyst does not affect the equilibrium of the reaction.
- Heterogeneous catalyst - Also known as contact catalyst. It is not in the same phase as the reactants and is common in solid state catalysts. It is widely used in the chemical industry.
- Electrocatalyst: are those used to improve the semi-reaction speed of fuel cells.
- Biological catalyst - Also known as an enzyme. These catalysts are chemical compounds typical of living beings, whose function is to increase the speed of molecular collation in biochemical reactions.