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1) A compound that speeds up a chemical reaction. For example, amines are used to increase the rate of vulcanization of natural and synthetic rubbers, Alum is used to decrease the setting time of Plaster of Paris or Portland cement and metallic soaps are used to hasten the drying time for oil paints.

2) A compound that maximizes the potential of a process. Examples of this slightly different connotation are the use of quaternary ammonium compounds to increase the activity (useful lifetime) of photographic developers and the use of a combustible liquid to make a fire more intense.

3) A device that increases the rate of movement, such as a car accelerator or a particle accelerator (cyclotron).

Synonyms and Related Terms

promoter; activator; accelerant; drier

Resources and Citations

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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