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In class the other day (I believe it was the 03/12/2018 lecture), professor level made it a point to emphasize that things like sponges "ABSORB" water, whereas catalysts adsorb reactants. What this means is that the reactant isn't absorbed into the catalyst, but instead rests upon it (adsorption). I think the concept here is that the slight adhesion when a catalyst adsorbs a reactant allows the reactant to detach from the catalyst as the reaction proceeds, and then the catalyst is free to move to the next reactant instead of permanently holding on to the reactants.
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