How does a catalyst work?

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When say a metal like Platinum catalyzes a reaction, what exactly is it doing that is speeding up that reaction?

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Imagine oven that hold heat to burn any left overs fuel in the exhaust. Platinum boiling temperature is too high to melt but it hold heat more than other metals

When you buy aftermarket catalyst which just mostly metal and doesn’t meet federal requirements

A catalyst basically allows an intermediate step in a chemical reaction.

Every reaction has an activation energy that is required to start it, wich means a certain temperature is needed to make the reaction happen fast (since temperature is randomly distributed “too cold to react” means a few molecules will still react randomly, but that will be slow)

A catalyst basically splits that energy required by doing the reaction in two steps. Like, imagine instead of having to climb a 4 feet step you have to do 2 feet twice wich is much easier.

This results in much lower temperature being needed for a fast reaction.

So your chemical reacts with platinum, and that then reacts to the final result releasing the platinum again.

Random funfact: our body relies heavily on enzymes that work like catalysts. That way we can burn our food at body temperature and not at fat-fire temperature.

~~The super dimple version is, if your trying to light a burn pile on fire, gasoline acts as a catalyst. Catalysts make things happen “more”. Whether faster, cheaper, easier, skipping a step, skipping an ingredient. Catalysts just allow things to happen that would normally require an additional something. Even if that something is “more of this thing you already have”.~~

it has been explained that i am wrong, so please listen to the people smarter than me.

Catalysts speed up a reaction by lowering the activation energy. This is done by stabilising the intermediate steps in the reaction.

Transition metal catalysts like platinum work by letting chemicals “borrow” some electrons for a while and letting them sit on the surface of the metal waiting for the other reagent to come along and react.