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A catalyst can be an intermediate in an equation, but not all intermediates are catalysts. I believe to be able to tell if it is a catalyst you would have to be given that it is a catalyst or that the activation energy was lowered.
I believe it depends on the order in which the steps occur. For instance, a catalyst would be a reactant in a prior step and a product in a subsequent step, whereas an intermediate would be a product in a prior step and a reactant in a subsequent step.
A catalyst is added to the reaction to make it faster, it is part of the reactants but then is regenerated. An intermediate is formed in the reaction and then used up, it does not need to be specifically added.
MadelineHlobik wrote:How can I tell the difference between a catalyst and an intermediate?
Adding on to this, if a molecule is cancelled out in step 1 on the reactants side of the equation when you are taking one of the approaches to solve the mechanism it is known as the catalyst, since it has been there from the beginning and is not consumed. You will be able to tell an intermediate, if it is produced in step 1 then it will be used up in step 2 on the reactants side.
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