Catalysts, Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysis


The substance that remains quantitatively and chemically unchanged at the end of a reaction is known as a catalyst. The acceleration and retardation of reactions by catalysts is referred to as catalysis. There are different types of catalytic reactions:– catalytic combination, catalytic redox reaction, or catalytic reversible reaction. There are two types of catalyzed reactions:– homogeneous catalysis and heterogeneous catalysis.


Homogeneous catalysis: This is a type of reaction whereby the catalyst, reactants and products are all in the same phase. For instance, the oxidation of sulphur(IV) oxide using nitrogen(II) oxide as a catalyst occurs in the gaseous phase.


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                          2SO2(g) + O2(g) →  2SO2(g)



Heterogeneous catalysis: In heterogeneous catalysis, the reactants, products and catalysts are in different phases. Most catalytic reactions are in this category. Examples of heterogeneous catalytic reactions are:



                       N2(g) + 3H2(g)      2NH3(g)




                       H2(g)  + I2(g)  →   2HI(g)


The formation of margarine from vegetable oil in the presence of nickel as a catalyst is an example of a heterogeneous catalysis.



                Vegetable oil(l) + H2(g)   →     Margarine



Oil to be solidified by hydrogenation facilitated by catalysts


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                Characteristics of a Catalyst

There are some characteristics and features peculiar with catalysts that make them unique as facilitators of chemical reactions.


  1. A catalyst alters the rate of a chemical reaction
  1. The effect of a solid catalyst is improved by increasing its surface area.
  1. A catalyst remains unchanged in both chemical nature and mass at the end of a reaction. However, its physical features such as color and texture may be changed.
  1. A catalyst does not affect the type of products formed in the reaction.
  1. A catalyst cannot start a reaction. It is effective only in reactions that are already in progress.
  1. A catalyst will affect the rate of a reaction even though it is present in a very small amount. An increase, however, in the amount of a catalyst up to a certain limit, would usually increase the rate of a reaction.
  1. A catalyst has no effect on the equilibrium of a reversible reaction.
  1. A catalyst is specific in action. That is, it can only catalyze a particular reaction.


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About the Author

Tony Onwujiariri
Tony is an Avid Tech enthusiast that loves Scientific Inventions and Tech Products. He blogs Passionately on Science and Technology related niches and spends most of his time on Research in Content Management and SEO. Tony loves Sugar and has been in love with Don Williams since he was a toddler on Diapers.

1 Comment on "Catalysts, Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysis"

  1. Thanks for sharing some solid information,keep sharing

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Catalysts, Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysis

by Tony Onwujiariri time to read: 2 min