A catalyst is a chemical substance that allows catalysis to take place. As it is not consumed during the chemical reaction, it is used in small quantities and does not appear in the equation of the balance of the reaction which it allows to accelerate.
The catalyst in chemistry
A catalyst has the effect of modifying the very nature of the steps that make it possible to pass from reactants to products. However, it is not capable of modifying either the direction of the evolution of the system, or its state of equilibrium.
It only influences chemical kinetics, by accelerating a reaction or by allowing one reaction to be favored over another.
A catalyst is specific to a type of reaction, that is to say that the same catalyst cannot be effective for all chemical reactions.
Zeolites and the catalyst of cars
Catalysts are very important for the industry. Much research is being conducted on the subject.
Zeolites are synthetic mineral compounds, similar to clay. They have a microporous structure and acidic properties which make them excellent catalysts, particularly in the petrochemical sector, for the transformation of hydrocarbons.
In the automotive sector, catalytic converters oxidize certain toxic residues from the combustion reaction of the air-gasoline mixture.
What reduce the release of these harmful gases – such as carbon monoxide (CO) – in the atmosphere.