• Catalyst: chemical agent that speeds up a reaction without being consumed by the reaction → can be used over and over again

          ○ Do not affect the free energy/enthalpy of a reaction!

          ○ Reactions with a catalyst will typically require at least 2 steps

  • Catalysts allow reactions to occur with a lower AE → more reactant molecules will have the new, minimum Ea to collide and form products → reaction rate increased
  • Homogeneous catalyst: is present in the same phase as the reacting molecules
  • Heterogeneous catalyst: exists in a different phase (usually as a solid; a catalytic converter is one type)

   ○ 4 steps of heterogeneous catalysis

  1. Adsorption (collection of one substance on the surface of another substance) and activation of the reactants
  1. Migration of the adsorbed reactants on the surface               
  1. Reaction of the adsorbed substances
  2. Escape (desorption) of the products

How Catalysts Speed Up Reactions

  • A catalyst increases the rate constant and lowers Ea Barrier by…

           ○ Forming a more stable activated complex

           ○ Increased collision frequency

           ○ Improved orientation effects

  • Allow chemical reactions to occur at lower temperatures
  • Speeds up natural reactions cause them
  • Reactions can occur without catalysts, but would be slower & cost a lot more energy

Activation Energy Barrier

  • Activation Energy: total amount of energy needed for reactants to become products
  • Reacting molecules must collide and have enough energy (AE) needed to reach transition state and  break bonds of reactants

          ○ Activation energy often heat from environment

               ■ But bad bcuz speeds up all reactions, denatures proteins & kills cells

  • Transition State: reactive (unstable) condition of the substrate after enough energy has been absorbed to start the reaction