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What occurs when a catalyst is added to a chemical reaction?

September 9, 2017

What occurs when a catalyst is added to a chemical reaction?

  1.   an alternate reaction pathway with a lower activation energy

  2.  an alternate reaction pathway with a higher activation energy

  3.   the same reaction pathway with a lower activation energy

  4.   the same reaction pathway with a higher activation energy 

Answer and Explanation: Catalysts are used to speed up reactions. How do they do so? Catalysts create an alternate reaction pathway that lowers activation energy and allows reactants to be converted into products faster. Choice 1 is correct. We can think of activation energy as the mountain (energy barrier) that reactants have to overcome to become products. The higher the mountain is the harder it is for reactants to overcome it and less reactants are able to do so. Catalyst effectively lower the barrier, allowing more reactants to have enough energy to become products.

 

 

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