In chemistry the term catalysis means the speeding up of a chemical reaction. It follows that autocatalysis then means "the catalysis of a chemical reaction by one of the products of the reaction.'' For example, oxalic acid oxidizes purple permanganate. When a few crystals of MnSO4 are added to a mixture of the chemicals, the conversion to Mn(ii) is sped up. If no MnSO4 is added, then the reaction will gradually speed up of itself, because Mn(ii) is gradually being created by the reaction, and this product autocatalyzes the reaction itself.Autocatalysis in chemistry is usually considered to occur among relatively simple, fixed, and inflexible reactants. As such it is commonly regarded as a subclass of general mechanisms.
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