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What effect does a catalyst have on a chemical reaction?

A It speeds up the reaction.

A catalyst is any substance that speeds up a chemical reaction. It may do so by any of a number of means: by binding to the reactants in a way that facilitates their reaction, by breaking them down into more reactive forms, etc. No matter how the specific catalyst functions, it lowers the activation energy of a reaction, resulting in a higher reaction rate. Enzymes are one example of a catalyst.