Scientists Say: Catalyst

This is a material that brings chemical reactions up to speed


Scientists might add a catalyst to a chemical mix make a reaction go faster.


Catalyst (noun, “CAT-ah-list”)

This is a material that speeds up a chemical reaction. A catalyst can help a chemical reaction that would take hours or even years on its own happen in just a few seconds. In living things, molecules called enzymes can serve as catalysts. Catalysts are also used in manufacturing. And they can be found in some everyday things, such as cars and trucks.

In a sentence

Cars use platinum as a catalyst to help remove pollutants from exhaust.

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Bethany Brookshire was a longtime staff writer at Science News Explores and is the author of the book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology and likes to write about neuroscience, biology, climate and more. She thinks Porgs are an invasive species.

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