(see other glossary entries)

  • In a chemical reaction, a catalyst is the opposite of an 'inhibitor'.
  • A catalyst is the 'host' for reaction and transformation in other agents (chemicals).
  • It does so without using much energy and without seriously affecting the process that it facilitates.

square-50cm-spacer.jpg 292px CatalysisScheme

  • This diagram shows how a catalyst 'assists' in a chemical reaction (X + Y) to produce Z.
  • The assisted reaction is shown here as red.
  • This reaction pathway differs from the reaction without a catalyst (black curve) in requiring less energy.
  • The final result and the overall thermodynamics are the same.
  • One may host many catalytic reactions in parallel.
  • Importantly, to qualify as a 'catalyst' the catalytic chemical is not consumed by the process.

See also: