Chemical reactions are all around us, impacting almost every aspect of our lives, often in ways we don’t even realize. But sometimes these reactions require additional “assistance” to improve efficiency and reduce the amount of energy required to achieve completion. And this assistance is provided by chemical catalysts, substances that are added to the chemicals being used to achieve the necessary increased efficiency or decreased energy requirements.
Some chemical catalysts are seeing an uptick in usage in 2019 – here are some of the most common in the industry right now:
One of the acidic oxides used as a catalyst is Silicon Dioxide. An example of a heterogeneous catalyst (where the catalyst is used while in a different chemical state than the reactants to which it is being applied), it often is used to increase the number of active acidic sites within the reaction, speeding up processes.
The production of ammonia by combining nitrogen and hydrogen is often performed through the Haber Process, where the two chemicals are combined in a reversible reaction with the assistance of heat and pressure. This process requires a catalyst to achieve optimal efficiency, and that is often performed by Iron. This is one of the many ways in which iron is used in chemical reactions to increase or improve the reaction.
Carbonic Anhydrase is one of the most vital catalysts found in the array of chemical reactions that take place in our body. Its main role is to catalyst the reaction of carbon dioxide and water to form carbonic acid, which plays a part in balancing our body’s pH levels. Another vital process it performs is to help catalyze the release of carbon dioxide into the lungs from the blood. It is one of the fastest-acting catalysts known to scientists and is often categorized as an acid-based, or enzyme, catalyst.
A relatively new discovery as an option for catalyst use is Iodine, which has also emerged as an environmentally-friendly byproducts. Iodine is an example of a homogeneous catalyst, where it is often deployed in the same chemical phase as the reaction.