New catalyst material produces abundant cheap hydrogen

QUT chemistry researchers have discovered cheaper and more efficient materials for producing hydrogen for the storage of renewable energy that could replace current water-splitting catalysts.

New catalyst outshines platinum for producing hydrogen

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, packs a powerful punch. And because it contains no carbon, it produces only water when used as a fuel. But on Earth, hydrogen most often exists in combination with other ...

Heterometallic copper-aluminum super atom discovered

On the outside, a cluster of 55 copper and aluminum atoms looks like a crystal, but chemically, it has the properties of an atom. The heterometallic superatom, which chemists of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have ...

Chemists solve persistent problem after four decades

After almost four decades, Leiden and Eindhoven chemists have resolved the discussion about the correct model regarding the simplest chemical reaction in heterogeneous catalysis, which is essential for fuel cells. Using a ...

Energy researchers break the catalytic speed limit

A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered new technology that can speed up chemical reactions 10,000 times faster than the current reaction rate limit. These ...

New battery gobbles up carbon dioxide

A new type of battery developed by researchers at MIT could be made partly from carbon dioxide captured from power plants. Rather than attempting to convert carbon dioxide to specialized chemicals using metal catalysts, which ...

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Catalysis

Catalysis is the process in which the rate of a chemical reaction is either increased or decreased by means of a chemical substance known as a catalyst. Unlike other reagents that participate in the chemical reaction, a catalyst is not consumed by the reaction itself. The catalyst may participate in multiple chemical transformations. Catalysts that speed the reaction are called positive catalysts. Catalysts that slow down the reaction are called negative catalysts or inhibitors. Substances that increase the activity of catalysts are called promoters and substances that deactivate catalysts are called catalytic poisons. For instance, in the reduction of ethyne to ethene, the catalyst is palladium (Pd) partly "poisoned" with lead(II) acetate (Pb(CH3COO)2). Without the deactivation of the catalyst, the ethene produced will be further reduced to ethane.

The general feature of catalysis is that the catalytic reaction has a lower rate-limiting free energy change to the transition state than the corresponding uncatalyzed reaction, resulting in a larger reaction rate at the same temperature. However, the mechanistic origin of catalysis is complex. Catalysts may affect the reaction environment favorably, e.g. acid catalysts for reactions of carbonyl compounds, form specific intermediates that are not produced naturally, such as osmate esters in osmium tetroxide-catalyzed dihydroxylation of alkenes, or cause lysis of reagents to reactive forms, such as atomic hydrogen in catalytic hydrogenation.

Kinetically, catalytic reactions behave like typical chemical reactions, i.e. the reaction rate depends on the frequency of contact of the reactants in the rate-determining step. Usually, the catalyst participates in this slow step, and rates are limited by amount of catalyst. In heterogeneous catalysis, the diffusion of reagents to the surface and diffusion of products from the surface can be rate determining. Analogous events associated with substrate binding and product dissociation apply to homogeneous catalysts.

Although catalysts are not consumed by the reaction itself, they may be inhibited, deactivated or destroyed by secondary processes. In heterogeneous catalysis, typical secondary processes include coking where the catalyst becomes covered by polymeric side products. Additionally, heterogeneous catalysts can dissolve into the solution in a solid-liquid system or evaporate in a solid-gas system.

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