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Katalis : Pengertian, Fakta Dan Kegunaanya

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Jika suatu reaksi kimia berjalan lambat dalam suhu kamar, maka usaha yang sering kita lakukan adalah menaikan suhu reaksi seoptimal mungkin sampai reaksi tersebut dapat berlangsung lebih cepat. Namun adakalanya usaha yang kita lakukan ini tidak berhasil. Misalnya, sel tubuh makhluk hidup dapat bertahan pada rentang suhu yang agak rendah. Umumnya, sel tubuh makhluk hidup hanya bisa bekerja pada suhu dibawah 40 C. Apabila suhunya dinaikkan sampai diatas 40 C, maka sel tersebut akan mengalami kerusakan atau denaturasi.

Banyak reaksi biokimia yang begitu rumit dalam tubuh berlangsung terlalu lambat pada suhu ini jika tanpa ada campur tangan zat lain. Sel tubuh kita dapat bekerja secara cepat dan baik dikarenakan adanya zat yang dapat mempercepat reaksi biokimia di dalam tubuh kita. Ya, enzim merupakan substansi yang selama ini banyak membantu dan berperan sebagai katalis di dalam reaksi-reaksi biokimia yang terjadi di dalam tubuh kita.

Dalam dunia industri, walaupun dimungkinkan menggunakan suhu yang tinggi untuk mempercepat reaksi seperti proses Haber untuk sintesis ammonia, tetapi biaya operasionalnya sangat mahal. Dalam industri kimia, apabila kita menaikan suhu reaksi itu berarti kita juga harus mengeluarkan biaya yang banyak untuk memasok energi. Oleh sebab itu, perlu adanya suatu zat yang dapat memercepat laju reaksi tanpa kita harus meningkatkan suhu atau tekanan, sehingga biaya operasionalnya dapat ditekan menjadi lebih murah. Zat yang berperan dalam hal ini ialah Katalis.

Katalis merupakan substansi yang dapat mempercepat terjadinya reaksi kimia dengan cara menurunkan energi aktivasi sehingga proses terjadinya reaksi dapat berlangsung lebih cepat. Di dalam reaksi tersebut, katalis tidak ikut bereaksi, melainkan hanya membantu proses terjadinya reaksi agar berlangsung lebih cepat. Hampir semua proses reaksi kimia di industri menggunakan katalis. Sebagai contoh, Produksi asam sulfat menggunakan katalis Vanadium( V )Oksida . Dan juga produksi ammonia menggunakan katalis campuran besi dan besi(III)oksida.

Bagaimana katalis bekerja ? Ingat bahwa setiap reaksi kimia memiliki energi penghalang tertentu yang harus di lampaui. Bagaimana membuat reaksi berlangsung lebih cepat tanpa kita harus meningkatkan suhu agar energi molekuler naik ? Caranya ialah dengan membuat suatu tahap baru untuk terjadinya reaksi, yaitu suatu tahap yang memiliki energi aktivasi rendah. Penambahan katalis adalah membuat jalan baru bagi reaksi dengan energi aktivasi yang lebih rendah, sebab jika suatu reaksi memiliki energi aktivasi yang rendah, maka reaksi tersebut dapat berlangsung lebih ringkas dan cepat. Jadi fungsi utama dari katalis ini ialah untuk menurunkan laju reaksi agar reaksi memiliki energi aktivasi yang lebih rendah. Walaupun katalis menurunkan energi aktivasi reaksi, tetapi tidak mempengaruhi perubahan entalpi reaksi.

Jadi itulah pengertian, fakta dan juga kegunaan dari katalis. Pada postingan berikutnya kita akan membahas secara gamblang mengenai jenis-jenis katalis, So stay tunned here ! Baiklah sekian dulu postingan saya kali ini, sampai jumpa di postingan selanjutnya, terima kasih and salam CHEMISTRY !!

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