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I would

thanks of gratitude to my teacher Mr.A.K.Sharma as
well as our Principal Mr. Avdhesh Dubey who gave
me the golden opportunity to do this wonderful
project on the topic CATALYSTS, which also helped
me in doing a lot of Research and I came to know
about so many new things I am really thankful to
Secondly I would also like to thank my parents and
friends who helped me a lot in finalizing this project
within the limited time frame.

A catalyst
enhances the
rate of a reaction. In other words, they allow a higher fraction of molecules
to reach the minimum energy required for the reaction; hence, leading to the
formation of more products. Catalysts are involved in the reaction, but are

regenerated at the end of the reaction so that none of the catalyst is


Catalysts dissociate the bonds in the reactants, promoting the recombination
of the reactant atoms and as a result speed the reaction. The catalyst itself is
eventually regenerated by the reaction.

This "catalytic power" is due to free bonding sites on the surface of the
catalyst that can form chemical bonds with one or more of the reactant
molecules, allowing the reactions to occur with greater ease. The actual
mechanisms depend on the reactants and catalysts involved.

Laboratory and Industrial Catalysts

Catalysis is also important in chemical laboratories and in industry. Some
reactions occur faster in the presence of a small amount of an acid or base
and are said to be acid catalyzed or base catalyzed. For example, the
hydrolysis of esters is catalyzed by the presence of a small amount of base. In
this reaction, it is the hydroxide ion, OH - , that reacts with the ester, and the
concentration of the hydroxide ion is greatly increased over that of pure
water by the presence of the base. Although some of the hydroxide ions
provided by the base are used up in the first part of the reaction, they are
regenerated in a later step from water molecules; the net amount of
hydroxide ion present is the same at the beginning and end of the reaction,
so the base is thought of as a catalyst and not as a reactant.
Finely divided metals are often used as catalysts; they adsorb the reactants
onto their surfaces (see adsorption), where the reaction can occur more

readily. For example, hydrogen and oxygen gases can be mixed without
reacting to form water, but if a small amount of powdered platinum is added
to the gas mixture, the gases react rapidly. Hydrogenation reactions, e.g., the
formation of hard cooking fats from vegetable oils, are catalyzed by finely
divided metals or metal oxides. The commercial preparation of sulfuric acid
and nitric acid also depends on such surface catalysis. Other commonly used
surface catalysts, in addition to platinum, are copper, iron, nickel, palladium,
rhodium, ruthenium, silica gel (silicon dioxide), and vanadium oxide.

Mechanism of Catalysis

Catalysts work by changing the activation energy for a reaction, i.e., the
minimum energy needed for the reaction to occur. This is accomplished by
providing a new mechanism or reaction path through which the reaction can
proceed. When the new reaction path has a lower activation energy, the
reaction rate is increased and the reaction is said to be catalyzed.
If the activation energy for the new path is higher, the reaction rate is
decreased and the reaction is said to be inhibited. Inhibitors can provide an
interesting challenge to the chemist. For example, because oxygen is an
inhibitor of free-radical reactions, many of which are important in the synthesis

of polymers, such reactions must be performed in an oxygen-free environment,

e.g., under a blanket of nitrogen gas.
In some reactions one of the reaction products is a catalyst for the reaction; this
phenomenon is called self-catalysis or autocatalysis. An example is the reaction
of permanganate ion with oxalic acid to form carbon dioxide and manganous
ion, in which the manganous ion acts as an autocatalyst. Such reactions are
potentially dangerous, since the reaction rate may increase to the point of
Some substances that are not themselves catalysts increase the activity of a
catalyst when added with it to some reaction; such substances are called
promoters. Alumina is a promoter for iron when it is used to catalyze the
reaction of hydrogen and nitrogen to form ammonia. Substances that react with
catalysts to reduce or eliminate their effect are called poisons.

Heterogeneous catalysts
Heterogeneous catalysts act in a different phase than the reactants. Most
heterogeneous catalysts are solids that act on substrates in a liquid or
gaseous reaction mixture. Diverse mechanisms for reactions on surfaces are
known, depending on how the adsorption takes place The total surface area of
solid has an important effect on the reaction rate. The smaller the catalyst
particle size, the larger the surface area for a given mass of particles.
A heterogeneous catalyst has active sites, which are the atoms or crystal
faces where the reaction actually occurs. Depending on the mechanism, the
active site may be either a planar exposed metal surface, a crystal edge with
imperfect metal valence or a complicated combination of the two. Thus, not
only most of the volume, but also most of the surface of a heterogeneous
catalyst may be catalytically inactive. Finding out the nature of the active site
requires technically challenging research. Thus, empirical research for finding
out new metal combinations for catalysis continues.
For example, in the Haber process, finely divided iron serves as a catalyst for
the synthesis of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen. The

reacting gases adsorb onto active sites on the iron particles. Once physically
adsorbed, the reagents undergo chemisorption that results in dissociation into
adsorbed atomic species, and new bonds between the resulting fragments form
in part due to their close proximity. In this way the particularly strong triple
bond in nitrogen is broken, which would be extremely uncommon in the gas
phase due to its high activation energy. Thus, the activation energy of the
overall reaction is lowered, and the rate of reaction increases.Another place
where a heterogeneous catalyst is applied is in the oxidation of sulfur dioxide
on vanadium(V) oxide for the production of sulfuric acid.
Heterogeneous catalysts are typically "supported," which means that the
catalyst is dispersed on a second material that enhances the effectiveness or
minimizes their cost. Supports prevent or reduce agglomeration and sintering of
the small catalyst particles, exposing more surface area, thus catalysts have a
higher specific activity (per gram) on a support. Sometimes the support is
merely a surface on which the catalyst is spread to increase the surface area.
More often, the support and the catalyst interact, affecting the catalytic reaction.
Supports are porous materials with a high surface area, most
commonly alumina, zeolites or various kinds of activated carbon. Specialized
supports include silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide, calcium carbonate,
and barium sulfate.

Homogeneous Catalysts

In chemistry, homogeneous catalysis is catalysis in a solution by a soluble

catalyst. Strictly speaking, homogeneous catalysis are catalytic reactions
where the catalyst is in the same phase as the reactants, so homogeneous
catalysis applies to reactions in the gas phase and even in a
solid. Heterogeneous catalysis is the alternative to homogeneous catalysis,
where the catalysis occurs at the interface of two phases, typically gas-solid.
The term is used almost exclusively to describe solutions and it is often
implies catalysis by organometallic compounds. The area is one of intense

research and many practical apprehended applications, e.g., the production

of acetic acid.
Contrast with heterogeneous catalysis
Homogeneous catalysis differs from heterogeneous catalysis in that the
catalyst is in a different phase than the reactants. One example of
heterogeneous catalysis is the petrochemical alkylation process, where the
liquid reactants are immiscible with a solution containing the catalyst.
Heterogeneous catalysis offers the advantage that products are readily
separated from the catalyst, and heterogeneous catalysts are often more
stable and degrade much slower than homogeneous catalysts. However,
heterogeneous catalysts are difficult to study, so their reaction mechanisms
are often unknown.[5]


Nanocatalysts are nanomaterials with catalytic activities. They have been

extensively explored for wide range of applications. Among them, the
nanocatalysts with enzyme mimicking activities are collectively called
as nanozymes.

Tandem catalysis

In tandem catalysis two or more different catalysts are coupled in a

one-pot reaction.

In the context of electrochemistry, specifically in fuel cell engineering,
various metal-containing catalysts are used to enhance the rates of the half
reactions that comprise the fuel cell. One common type of fuel cell
electrocatalyst is based upon nanoparticles of platinum that are supported on

slightly larger carbon particles. When in contact with one of the electrodes in
a fuel cell, this platinum increases the rate of oxygen reduction either to
water, or to hydroxide or hydrogen peroxide.

Enzymes (Biocatalysts)

In biology, enzymes are protein-based catalysts

in metabolism and catabolism. Most biocatalysts are enzymes,
but other non-protein-based classes of biomolecules also exhibit
catalytic properties including ribozymes, and
synthetic deoxyribozymes.[13]
Biocatalysts can be thought of as intermediate between
homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts, although strictly
speaking soluble enzymes are homogeneous catalysts
and membrane-bound enzymes are heterogeneous. Several
factors affect the activity of enzymes (and other catalysts)
including temperature, pH, concentration of enzyme, substrate,
and products. A particularly important reagent in enzymatic
reactions is water, which is the product of many bond-forming
reactions and a reactant in many bond-breaking processes.
In biocatalysis, enzymes are employed to prepare many
commodity chemicals including high-fructose corn
syrup and acrylamide.
Some monoclonal antibodies whose binding target is a stable
molecule which resembles the transition state of a chemical
reaction can function as weak catalysts for that chemical
reaction by lowering its activation energy.[14] Such catalytic
antibodies are sometimes called "abzymes".

Energy processing
Petroleum refining makes intensive use of catalysis for alkylation, catalytic
cracking (breaking long-chain hydrocarbons into smaller pieces), naphtha reforming
and steam reforming (conversion of hydrocarbons into synthesis gas). Even the
exhaust from the burning of fossil fuels is treated via catalysis: Catalytic
converters, typically composed of platinum and rhodium, break down some of the
more harmful byproducts of automobile exhaust.
o 2 CO + 2 NO 2 CO2 + N2
With regard to synthetic fuels, an old but still important process is the FischerTropsch synthesis of hydrocarbons from synthesis gas, which itself is processed
via water-gas shift reactions, catalysed by iron. Biodiesel and related biofuels
require processing via both inorganic and biocatalysts.
Fuel cells rely on catalysts for both the anodic and cathodic reactions.
Catalytic heaters generate flameless heat from a supply of combustible fuel.

Bulk chemicals
Some of the largest-scale chemicals are produced via catalytic oxidation, often
using oxygen. Examples include nitric acid (from ammonia), sulfuric
acid (from sulfur dioxide to sulfur trioxide by the chamber process), terephthalic
acid from p-xylene, and acrylonitrile from propane and ammonia.
Many other chemical products are generated by large-scale reduction, often
via hydrogenation. The largest-scale example is ammonia, which is prepared via
the Haber process from nitrogen. Methanol is prepared from carbon monoxide.
Bulk polymers derived from ethylene and propylene are often prepared via ZieglerNatta catalysis. Polyesters, polyamides, and isocyanates are derived via acid-base

Most carbonylation processes require metal catalysts, examples include

the Monsanto acetic acid process and hydroformylation.

Fine chemicals

Many fine chemicals are prepared via catalysis; methods include those of
heavy industry as well as more specialized processes that would be
prohibitively expensive on a large scale. Examples include the Heck
reaction, and Friedel-Crafts reactions.
Because most bioactive compounds are chiral, many pharmaceuticals are
produced by enantioselective catalysis (catalytic asymmetric synthesis).
Food processing
One of the most obvious applications of catalysis is the hydrogenation (reaction
with hydrogen gas) of fats using nickel catalyst to produce margarine.[19] Many
other foodstuffs are prepared via biocatalysis (see below).

Catalytic reforming uses metal alloys such as platinum to boost the octane ratings
of gasoline by reforming the carbon chains in petroleum.
Hydrotreatment is the process of adding hydrogen gas in the presence of mixed
metal sulfides on a carrier to improve gas qualities, protect downstream catalysts
and improve emissions by saturating bonds in long hydrocarbons.
Catalytic cracking uses a silica-alumina matrix with zeolite crystals (crystalline
alumino silicates) to reduce the length of hydrocarbon chains into usable shorter
chains, such as octane.
Alkylation is the process of reacting shorter unsaturated hydrocarbon chains in the
presence of a catalyst to produce high octane branched hydrocarbons, gasoline.


LePree, Joy. "Cleaning Up with Catalysts." Chemical Engineering January

2008: 21-24. Print.

Bowker, Michael. The Basis and Applications of Heterogeneous Catalysis.

New York: Oxford
University Press, 1998