A chemical catalyst is a foreign substance that helps to speed up or promote a chemical reaction. Catalysts are used in a wide variety of industrial, chemical, and biological processes.
In this article, we focus on chemical catalysts as applied in emission control. In order to comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations, chemical catalyst manufacturers are constantly searching for new and more efficient ways to remove harmful pollutants from exhaust gases.
Chemical catalysts in emission control
Catalytic converters are one of the most common types of chemical catalysts used today. They work by converting harmful pollutants in exhaust gases into less harmful substances. The most common pollutant that catalytic converters target is carbon monoxide (CO).
When exhaust gases from an internal combustion engine pass through a catalytic converter, the converter’s components act as a catalyst. This causes a chemical reaction that converts the CO into carbon dioxide (CO2), which is much less harmful to the environment.
Catalytic converters are not 100% effective, but they have been shown to reduce emissions of CO by up to 98%. In addition to CO, catalytic converters can also help to reduce emissions of other pollutants, such as hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).
Why are chemical catalysts used?
Chemical catalysts are used in a variety of industries and processes because they offer a number of advantages over other methods of chemical transformation.
1. They are not easily deactivated
Catalysts can speed up chemical reactions by several orders of magnitude without being consumed. This means that they can be used over and over again, which makes them much more efficient than other methods of chemical transformation.
2. They can be easily recovered and recycled
Catalysts can be recovered and recycled from reaction mixtures using a variety of methods. This makes them much more environmentally friendly than other methods of chemical transformation.
3. They can be used to selectively catalyze reactions
Catalysts can be designed to catalyze certain reactions while inhibiting others selectively. This makes them much more versatile than other methods of chemical transformation.
4. They can be used to catalyze reactions at lower temperatures
Catalysts can be used to catalyze reactions at lower temperatures than would be possible without a catalyst. This makes them much more energy-efficient than other methods of chemical transformation.
5. They can be used in the absence of oxygen
Catalysts can be used to catalyze reactions in the absence of oxygen. This makes them much more useful in a wide range of industrial processes.
Types of chemical catalysts
There are two main types of chemical catalysts: homogeneous and heterogeneous.
These catalysts are typically soluble in the reactant mixture and are present in the same phase (gas, liquid, or solid) as the reactants.
These catalysts are typically insoluble in the reactant mixture and are present in a different phase (gas, liquid, or solid) than the reactants.
You may also come across heterogenized homogeneous catalysts, even though these ones are less common due to the difficulty that comes with developing them practically.
There you have it,
A basic overview of chemical catalysts! As you can see, they offer many advantages over other methods of chemical transformation and are used in a wide variety of industries and processes.
At Applied Catalysts, we specialize in the development and manufacture of high-quality catalysts for a variety of applications. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services.