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In chemistry and biology, catalysis is the acceleration (increase in rate) of a chemical reaction by means of a substance, called a catalyst, that is itself not consumed by the overall reaction. The word is derived from the Greek noun κατάλυσις, related to the verb καταλύειν, meaning to annul or to untie or to pick up.
In Chinese, the symbol for the "catalyst" is the same as for "marriage broker" - which is exactly how catalysts can be thought of: a substance that brings molecules together in a reaction without getting involved in the reaction, or marriage, and can be used repeatedly without affecting the overall reaction.
Importance of Catalysis
Catalysis is a very important process from an industrial point of view since the production of most industrially important chemicals involve catalysis. The earliest commercial processes are the Haber process for ammonia synthesis and the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Research into catalysis is a major field in applied science, and involves many fields of chemistry, notably in organometallic chemistry, and physics. Catalysis is important in many aspects of environmental science, from the catalytic converter in automobiles to the causes of the ozone hole.
- Acid-base catalysis
- Catalytic converters made from platinum and rhodium break down some of the more harmful byproducts of automobile exhaust.
- Fuel cells
- Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.
- Haber process (synthesis of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen, where ordinary iron is used as a catalyst)
- Methanol synthesis
- Nitric acid production
- Petroleum refining and processing
- Steam reforming of hydrocarbons to produce synthesis gas
- Sulfuric acid production
- Olefin polymerisation
- W.A. Herrmann Technische Universität presentation 
- University of York catalyst pages de:Katalyse
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