In liquid-phase reaction systems, the role of the solvent is often limited to the simple requirement of dissolving and/or diluting substrates. However, the correct choice, either pure or mixed, can significantly influence both reaction rate and selectivity. For multi-phase heterogeneously catalysed reactions observed variations may be due to changes in mass transfer rates, reaction mechanism, reaction kinetics, adsorption properties and combinations thereof. The liquid-phase hydrogenation of 2-butanone to 2-butanol over a Ru/SiO catalyst, for example, shows such complex rate behaviour when varying water/isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solvent ratios. In this paper, we outline a strategy which combines measured rate data with physical property measurements and molecular simulation in order to gain a more fundamental understanding of mixed solvent effects for this heterogeneously catalysed reaction. By combining these techniques, the observed complex behaviour of rate against water fraction is shown to be a combination of both mass transfer and chemical effects. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry