The Haber Process and Catalysis

Explain that the use of a catalyst will lower the reaction temperature required and identify the catalyst(s) used in the Haber process

  • Catalyst: A substance that increases the rate of a reaction and which is recoverable at the end unchanged in chemical composition or mass.
  • A catalyst increases the rate of the reaction by providing an alternate pathway for the reaction that has a lower activation energy.
  • The catalyst used in the Haber process is magnetite (Fe3O4) fused with smaller amounts of promoters consisting of other metal oxides.
  • The catalyst is ground finely such that it has a large surface area of about 50 m2 g-1, and the magnetite is reduced to iron.
  • The large surface area allows gaseous molecules to rapidly absorb and react.
  • The use of the catalyst allows the reaction rate to remain high despite moderate temperatures

Easychem - The Haber Process and Catalysis