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Chemistry LibreTexts

15.12: The Path of a Reaction and the Effect of a Catalyst

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  • The addition of a catalyst to an equilibrium system is a final stress factor. We consider how adding a catalyst affects the following:

    \[\ce{N_2(g) + O_2(g) \leftrightharpoons 2NO(g)}\]

    Adding a catalyst to this, or any other equilibrium system, will not affect the position of an equilibrium. A catalyst speeds up both the forward and the reverse reactions, so there is no uneven change in reaction rates. Generally, a catalyst will help a reaction to reach the point of equilibrium sooner, but it will not affect the equilibrium otherwise.

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