A catalyst does not affect the equilibrium constant
Adding a catalyst makes absolutely no difference to the position of equilibrium. For a dynamic equilibrium to be set up, the forward reaction rates and the back reaction must be equal. This does not happen instantly, and for prolonged reactions, it may take years! A catalyst speeds up the rate at which a reaction reaches dynamic equilibrium. A catalyst increases both the forward and backward reactions to the same extent in a reversible reaction under equilibrium.
Characteristics of catalyst
- The catalyst remains unchanged (in mass and chemical composition ) in the reaction (Activity of catalyst.)
- A small quantity of the catalyst is required.
- The catalyst does not change the equilibrium constant. But the equilibrium approaches earlier.
- The catalyst is specific in nature.
- The catalyst exhibits maximum activity at a particular temperature which is known as optimum temperature.