Catalysis and catalysts
Burwell, Robert L., Jr. Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.
Haller, Gary L. Department of Chemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Last reviewed:January 2019
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- Phase transfer
- Catalyst life
- Related Primary Literature
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The phenomenon in which a relatively small amount of foreign material, called a catalyst, speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction without itself being consumed. A catalyst is a material, and not light or heat. It increases a reaction rate. For example, Hoveyda-Grubbs catalysts (see illustration) are commercially available and widely used in organic synthesis. These ruthenium-based catalysts are stable in air, water, and alcohols. Olefin metathesis is a catalyzed reaction in which double-bonded atom groups are exchanged, resulting in the formation of two new olefins. Grubbs’ catalysts were named after Robert H. Grubbs who received the 2005 Nobel Prize in chemistry, along with Yves Chauvin and Richard R. Schrock, for catalyzed metathesis reactions. See also: Alkene; Nobel Prizes for 2005; Organic synthesis; Organic synthesis in water
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