Characteristics of Catalytic Reactions

(i) The catalyst remains unchanged in amount and chemical composition at the end of the reaction; it may, however, undergo considerable change in physical form. 
(ii) A small quantity of the catalyst is capable of producing the desired effect. 
(iii) The action of a catalyst is specific to a large extent. Thus, the decomposition of KCIO3 is catalyzed by MnO2 but not by platinum. 
(iv) The catalyst does not initiate a reaction; it merely accelerates the reaction that is already occurring. 
(v) A catalyst does not alter the final state of equilibrium in a reversible reaction. 

A certain minimum energy must be possessed by the reactants so that they may react and produce the products. This is called the activation energy (Ea) for the reaction. A catalyst is said to lower the activation energy and thus increase the rate of the reaction. 


Thus, a catalyst increases the rate of a reaction by providing a pathway whose activation energy is lower than the activation energy of the uncatalysed reaction. 


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