(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.
- 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.