Catalysts in Reactions

Catalysts are used to speed up chemical reactions, while remaining chemically unchanged at the end of the reaction.

  • This means the mass of the catalyst is the same before and after the reaction.

Only a small amount of catalyst is required to increase the rate of reaction. Increasing the amount of catalyst will increase the rate beyond a specific point.

Below are examples of catalysts and the reactions they catalyse:

Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters are used to reduce the release of toxic gases from exhaust pipes, which decreases the likelihood of us getting sick. They do this by converting harmful substances into less harmful substances.

As you can see from the diagram above, catalytic converters…

Convert nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen

  • Nitrogen oxides can react to form smog and acid rain

Convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide

  • Carbon monoxide is poisonous

Converts hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water

  • Inhaling hydrocarbons from gasoline can be fatal to children.