Phrase of the Week: Volcano Plot

Usually, catalysis - how fast and how strongly something reacts to its catalyst - consists of many elementary reaction steps. To accurately describe reaction rate, it's necessary to describe the energy states involved in each step - and do it using only one or two parameters. A volcano plot is a type of rate model that uses an x-y axis and its appearance is much like that of a volcano. By simplifying high-volume, complex information into just one or two chosen parameters, researchers can discern relevant trends in that data and, for example, learn which metal, alloy or oxide surface would be active for a given reaction.