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4th Year Stage Catalyst Science and Technology Lecture: 03

Duhok Polytechnique University-Petrochemical Department

2018 / 2019

Catalysis

Dr Farhad M. Ali

2018/2019

The term catalysis (from the Greek kata-, “down,” and lyein, “loosen”) was first
employed by the great Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1835
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DR FARHAD M. ALI L03-CATALYSIS-2018-2019


4th Year Stage Catalyst Science and Technology Lecture: 03

Catalysis

What is meant by catalysis?

The phenomenon using catalyst is known as catalysis. It is the process of using catalyst.

Catalysis is the key to chemical transformations. Most industrial syntheses and nearly all
biological reactions require catalysts. Furthermore, catalysis is the most important
technology in environmental protection, i. e., the prevention of emissions, a well-known
example is the catalytic converter for automobiles.

Catalytic reactions were already used in antiquity, although the underlying principle of
catalysis was not recognized at the time. For example, the fermentation of sugar to ethanol
and the conversion of ethanol to ethanoic acid are catalyzed by enzymes (biocatalysts).

However, the systematic scientific development of catalysis only began about 200 years
ago, and its importance has grown up to the present day.

What is a catalyst?

A catalyst is a substance which enhances the rate of a chemical reaction without itself
getting used up in the reaction. A catalyst offers an alternative, energetically favourable
mechanism to the non-catalytic reaction, thus enabling processes to be carried out under
industrially feasible conditions of pressure and temperature.

For an active catalyst, the number of molecules transformed per minute by one molecule
of catalyst may be as large as several million. Where a given substance or a combination
of substances undergoes two or more simultaneous reactions that yield different products,
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DR FARHAD M. ALI L03-CATALYSIS-2018-2019


4th Year Stage Catalyst Science and Technology Lecture: 03

the distribution of products may be influenced by the use of a catalyst that selectively
accelerates one reaction relative to the other(s).

Does the catalyst affect the chemical equilibrium position?

The catalyst for a given reaction accelerates the reaction in both directions equally.
Therefore, a catalyst does not affect the position of equilibrium of a chemical reaction; it
affects only the rate at which equilibrium is attained. Apparent exceptions to this
generalization are those reactions in which one of the products is also a catalyst for the
reaction. Such reactions are termed autocatalytic

What is the advantage of using catalyst or catalysis?

The main advantages of catalysis is that we get the desired product faster, using fewer
resources, generating less waste, using less energy

▪ A catalyst lowers the activation energy (Ea) by providing a different 'pathway' or


mechanism that makes the bond breaking processes (or other electronic changes in the
reactants) occur more readily.

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DR FARHAD M. ALI L03-CATALYSIS-2018-2019


4th Year Stage Catalyst Science and Technology Lecture: 03

Catalysis also involves the formation of intermediates, not just a matter of an 'activated
complex' or 'transition state'. e.g. for a transition metal the reactant molecules may be
adsorbed and their bonds weakened, or, for a transition metal compound, it may involve a
change in ligand or oxidation state or other bonding re–arrangement, but will return to its
original state often via a 2–3 stage 'catalytic cycle'.

A reaction intermediate or an intermediate is a molecular entity that is formed from the reactants (or
preceding intermediates) and reacts further to give the directly observed products of
a chemical reaction. Most chemical reactions are stepwise, that is they take more than one
elementary step to complete

Why are the catalysts important?

Many important chemical reactions require inputs of energy to proceed. If a catalyst is


present less energy will be required to complete the reaction.

What the catalyst does?

It provides an alternative reaction pathway of lower activation energy Ea, compared to


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the uncatalysed reaction.

DR FARHAD M. ALI L03-CATALYSIS-2018-2019


4th Year Stage Catalyst Science and Technology Lecture: 03

Some examples of comparing the activation energies of uncatalysed and catalysed reactions.

Example Ea for Uncatalysed Ea for Catalysed Catalyst


The decomposition of 75 kJmol-1 49 kJmol-1 colloidal platinum
hydrogen peroxide:
23 kJmol enzyme
2H2O2(aq) → 2H2O(l) + O2(g)

The decomposition of 183 kJmol-1 105 kJmol-1 Au


hydrogen iodide:
2HI(g) → H2(g) + I2(g) 58 kJmol-1 Pt

The synthesis of ammonia: 350 kJmol-1 162 kJmol-1 W


N2(g) + 3H2(g) → 2NH3(g)

What is Activation Energy?

Activation energy is the minimum amount of energy that must be available for a chemical
reaction to occur. In order for reactions to proceed we must provide energy to break bonds.
This energy is known as the activation energy for a particular reaction.

Hyperlink for tutor: L03-CATALYSIS-ACTIVATION ENERGY.pptx

Based on Maxwell -
Boltzmann distribution
description, shows
how reducing the
activation energy
considerably increases
the proportion of particles
with sufficient kinetic
energy to overcome the
barrier of the activation
energy.
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DR FARHAD M. ALI L03-CATALYSIS-2018-2019


4th Year Stage Catalyst Science and Technology Lecture: 03

A catalyst can be changed physically e.g. the granules can end up more powdery or the
surface become roughened. This may be due to a heat effect from exothermic reactions
or just side effect of regeneration in the catalytic cycle.

e.g. in the laboratory preparation of oxygen from the MnO2(s) catalysed decomposition of
hydrogen peroxide solution, the residual water seems stained brown due to very fine
particles of MnO2(s).

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DR FARHAD M. ALI L03-CATALYSIS-2018-2019