Industrial Applications of Homogeneous Catalysis

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Homogeneous catalysis with precious metals is used in the chemical industry to carry out reactions carefully and selectively. For industrial applications, the platinum group metals rhodium, iridium, ruthenium, palladium and platinum are particularly important. In contrast to heterogeneous catalysis, the reacting substances, the products and the catalyst form one phase during the whole duration of the reaction. Certain chemical reactions can only be carried out by means of homogeneous catalysis. This is the case, for example, for hydroformylation and metathesis.

Because of the high costs of catalysts containing precious metals, the catalyst is normally separated out after the reaction and then re-used or recycled.


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A number of methods have been developed to separate the catalyst from the reaction mixture e. Most homogeneous precious metal catalysts are clearly defined compounds. Frequently, these are complex precious metal chemicals. Doble Mukesh received B. Tech and M.


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  6. He has authored or coauthored technical papers, five books and filed 4 patents. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Skip to Main Content. First published: 5 September About this book Over the last decade, the area of homogeneous catalysis with transition metal has grown in great scientific interest and technological promise, with research in this area earning three Nobel Prizes and filing thousands of patents relating to metallocene and non-metallocene single site catalysts, asymmetric catalysis, carbon-carbon bond forming metathesis and cross coupling reactions.

    Having a variable number allows potential catalyst to link to extra molecules at the surface when reactants are adsorbed and to release them again when the reaction is complete. The catalyst should have a variable oxidation state, this is the number of electrons an element can donate or receive.

    By taking part in electron exchange a potential catalyst can initiate chemical changes in molecules that bind to its surface. The electron exchange can also promote the binding of the molecules to its surface in the first place.

    Homogeneous Catalysis | Wiley Online Books

    The catalyst should be able to vary its stereochemistry, this defines the angles between bonds and so affects the shapes of molecules that can be created. What benefit does a large surface area grant to an heterogeneous catalyst? What two ways can a large surface area be achieved? To put this advise in context the Haber process has been in use for around a century but the description of the detailed reactions in the catalytic process was the main reason for the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

    Much of the time we can work out what might make a good catalyst but developing an excellent catalyst for a particular reaction involves a lot of directed trial and error.

    Homogeneous catalysis

    A recent professional review of an international catalytic research project recommended that the catalysts that produced poor results should not just be ignored but should be studied in more detail; if we knew precisely what made some catalysts poor performers we might be better able to design new high performance ones far more easily. They are of particular interest in commercial organic chemistry. The reason for this is that a reaction involving a complex organic molecule may well produce more than one potential product. Take as an example the hydrogenation of 1 - phenylethanol.

    Two possible reactions are shown here:. In fact both reactions will be catalysed.

    Product description

    Now ethylbenzene can be processed to produce styrene, the monomer that is in turn used to produce polystyrene, the plastic that is used in disposable plastic drinking cups, ceiling tiles and scale model aircraft kits. If the company only intends to make polystyrene then the 1 — cyclohexylethanol is a waste product and an expensive one at that.

    They might try to find markets for the by-product but they would much prefer it if it were not made in the first place.

    Industrial Catalyst

    Promoters allow them to go some way to doing this. By selecting the correct promoter the yield of ethylbenzene is increased. Another small manufacturer may have specialised in producing 1 — cyclohexylethanol for a niche market. To this company the ethylbenzene is the by-product!