Essay On Catalysis

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In this chapter, we briefly introduced about the history and backround of catalyst and catalysis.


Catalysts are the workhorses of chemical transformations in the industry and it permits an alternate mechanism for the formation of products from reactants with a lower activation energy and different transition state. Most of the industrial synthesis and nearly all biological process/reactions in our body require catalysts. Hence, catalysts have been used for the production of fuels (via catalytic cracking, reforming), synthesis gas (by steam reforming), fine chemicals (by oxidation), polymers and sugar to ethanol, ethanol to acetic acid (fermentation process by enzyme catalyst). In early 1836, a scientist Jons Jakob Berzelius was introduced the term “catalysis” to explain various transformation and decomposition reactions. He assumed that catalysts possess special powers that can influence the affinity of chemical substances. In short, catalysis is vitally important for our economics of today and it will become increasingly important in the future. Once catalysis reactions were understood, scientists discovered many reactions that changed rates in presence of catalysts.

Nearly 80% of chemical processes depend on catalysts of one kind or another, 90% of the processes in petroleum, petrochemical and fertilizer industries are dependent on catalysis. Majorly, the catalyst can be divided as biological (e.g., enzymes) and non-biological (e.g., organic and inorganic materials). Further, the non-biological can be of homogeneous or heterogeneous.
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