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Catalysis

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.

A catalyst decreases the activation energy of a chemical reaction.

Catalysts participate in reactions but are neither reactants nor products of the reaction they catalyze.

An exception is the process of autocatalysis where the product of a reaction helps to accelerate the same reaction.

They work by providing an alternative pathway for the reaction to occur, thus reducing the activation energy and increasing the reaction rate.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Catalysis", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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