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Question Video: Determining the Mass of a Catalyst after a Reaction Occurs Science

Metal catalysts are commonly used to help increase the rate of a chemical reaction. A student weighs out a block of a metal catalyst before and after being used in a chemical reaction. This is shown in the image. What should the mass of the catalyst be after the reaction?

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Video Transcript

Metal catalysts are commonly used to help increase the rate of a chemical reaction. A student weighs out a block of a metal catalyst before and after being used in a chemical reaction. This is shown in the image below. What should the mass of the catalyst be after the reaction?

Catalysts are valuable additions to many chemical reactions, especially important reactions that happen on an industrial scale. We are told in the question that the metal catalyst used can help increase the rate of a chemical reaction. The rate of a chemical reaction is a measure of the speed at which the concentrations of the reactants decrease and the products increase. The rate of reaction can commonly be affected by the temperature of the reaction, the concentration of the reactants or products, the surface area, pressure, or the presence of a catalyst.

Metal catalysts provide a special surface where the reactant molecules are concentrated together so that they can react more easily. The catalyst is chemically involved in the reaction at this point. After the products have been produced and released from the surface of the catalyst, the catalyst will have the same structure and properties as it did before the reaction took place. As the catalyst is not chemically changed or used up during the chemical reaction, it can be used again and again.

Not all catalysts provide a surface on which the reaction can occur, and some catalysts are used to decrease the rate of a chemical reaction instead of increase it. But all catalysts can be defined as a substance that changes the rate of reaction without undergoing a permanent chemical change.

In our example, the block of metal is acting as a catalyst, so it should be the same before and after the chemical reaction takes place. This means that we should expect the mass of the block of metal to be the same before and after the reaction. If the mass of the catalyst before the reaction is 1.5 grams, then the mass of the catalyst after the reaction should also be 1.5 grams.

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