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Is there a difference between the initial and the final energy levels in catalyzed and non-catalyzed reactions?
@kalahkid let me first explain this to you by drawing a diagram
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Let me first explain what everything on this graph means before actually going into anything.
The vertical part of our graph is the Y axis, this is the energy for our reaction, usually in kJ
The horizontal part of our graph is the X axis shows us the reaction progress.
The solid line that looks like a hump, is the un-catalyzed reaction, while the dashed line is the catalyzed reaction.
notice the two bars show us the energy of reaction for both the reactants and products.
Last thing to not are the symbols Ea 1 and Ea 2
Ea 1 = the activation energy for the un-catalyzed reaction while Ea 2 = the activation for the catalyzed reaction
The most important thing and ONLY thing a catalyst does is lower the activation energy Ea for the reaction.
why is this important? well in a reaction there is a minimum energy required for our reactants to go to products, and that;'s called the activation energy or Ea. in a chemical reaction, reactants have to collide with the proper orientation, have enough energy to do so but they don't always collide properly to form the products. In-fact as we raise the temperature, the fraction of molecules that can overcome this activation energy barrier increases.
Why is a catalyst important? it's important because a catalyst lowers this activation energy requirement, and what that does is that it increases the rate of the forward reaction. so the activation energy will be lower for the uncatalyzed reaction and you can see on the graph that Ea2 is smaller than Ea1.
But, it doesn't just lower the activation energy for the forward reaction because it it did that it would change the equilibrium, so the catalyst also lowers the activation energy for the reverse reaction as well.
You can see clearly, that the energy values for the reactants and products are the same, so in a catalyzed reaction the overall energy change which is
Delta H Products - Delta H reactants
is the same for both reactions.
so other than lowering the activation energy, the catalyst doesn't have any affect on the energies of the reactants and products, in-fact there isn't any real difference.
in biology sometimes people call say that the catalyst in-fact lowers the activation energy by offering an alternative pathway.
Think about it this way.
FYI catalyst = enzyme
1. E = enzyme
2. S = substrate
3. ES = ENZYME substrate complex
4. P= product
for this the enzyme provides an environment where both substrates can react to form products, without having to waste un-necessary energy.
Take for instance a figure like this one: The enzyme brings both the substrates together which fit snug like a lock and key inside the enzyme. This helps both the substrates to find eachother, get into close proximity and react. when the enzyme is bound to both the substrates we call this an enzyme substrate complex. Once the product is finished the enzyme removes itself and we have our finished product. The enzyme itself isn't changed in the reaction at all, and it doesn't affect any other aspect of the reaction other than by lowering the activation energy.
Hopes this helps you and anyone else reading this @kalahkid