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Chemical Reaction Equation

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In catalysis, the reaction does not proceed directly, but through reaction with a third substance known as catalyst. Although the catalyst takes part in the reaction, it is returned to its original state by the end of the reaction and so is not consumed. However, it can be inhibited, deactivated or destroyed by secondary processes. Catalysts can be used in a different phase (heterogeneous) or in the same phase (homogeneous) as the reactants. In heterogeneous catalysis, typical secondary processes include coking where the catalyst becomes covered by polymeric side products. Additionally, heterogeneous catalysts can dissolve into the solution in a solid–liquid system or evaporate in a solid–gas system. Catalysts can only speed up the reaction – chemicals that slow down the reaction are called inhibitors. Substances that increase the activity of catalysts are called promoters, and substances that deactivate catalysts are called catalytic poisons. With a catalyst, a reaction which is kinetically inhibited by a high activation energy can take place in circumvention of this activation energy.

As an example, the equation for the reaction of hydrochloric acid with sodium can be denoted:

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