How does a catalyst work?
A catalyst actually decreases the activation energy of a reaction in 2 ways:
1) By a process called adsorption, it attracts the molecules of the reactants to its surface so that they are closer together and can react more easily by colliding more successfully.
2) It creates a transition state, which is an inter mediate state before the final reaction occurs, which creates an intermediate, unstable compound using the catalyst itself. By the time the final product is formed, a new product as well as the original catalysy are remaining and the activation energy is considerably reduced.
Most of us may familiar with hotter the better but it is not necessary that catalyst prefer hot temperature. Catalyst do provide alternative path with lower activation energy, and it is not necessary like heat if the trend of overall reaction is exothermic. Many catalyst work best on limited range of temperature not too high and not too low.
As far as I'm aware, the work "catalyst" only applies to things which work on enzymes. Baking powder is a mixture of an acid and an alkali, which reacts upon adding a liquid by releasing Co2. (Although some also react upon heating). It is a chemical reaction, not an enzymatic one, therefore I don't think you can consider it to be a catalyst.
A catalyst works by providing a reaction route with a lower activation energy. An inhibitor slows a reaction and can work in several ways, for instance by tying up one of the reactants. We also use the term when we say catalyst inhibitor, which is something which binds to the active sites on a heterogeneous catalyst.
Platinum and rhodium are commonly used jointly in catalytic converters. A platinum-rhodium catalyst is a reduction catalyst, which is the first stage of the catalytic converter. It uses platinum and rhodium to help reduce the nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2, together called NOx) emissions. When an NO or NO2 molecule contacts the catalyst, the catalyst rips the nitrogen atom out of the molecule and holds on to it, freeing the oxygen in the form of…
When reactants are binding to the surface of the catalyst, it is important that the catalyst is strong enough to allow a reaction to take place, however having a strong catalyst could mean that the products could permenantly bind to the catalyst, which is a problem. So if the catalyst is too strong, the catalyst isnt very sucessful, and if it is too weak, it also isn't sucesful.