Fouling agents (or mechanical inhibitors) are inhibitory substances bound by neither covalent nor other strong bonds to the active centres: the interaction is usually of the van der Waals, H-bond or sometimes ionic, type. They form protective layers or @B00682@ pores, thus physically impeding access of reactants to the active centres. The fouling agents which cause real problems are those which have a long standing effect and do not disappear spontaneously. Carbon deposits act, partially or totally, this way (see @C01144@ ). Other examples are vanadium and nickel sulfide deposits in hydrotreating catalysts.