A study of olefin hydrogenation using copper catalysis.

  • Andrew Clarke

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Both unsupported and supported cuprous compounds have been shown to be totally as catalysts for the hydrogenation of propylene at temperatures up to 185°C and one atmosphere total pressure. Various other supported copper catalysts are, however, active for this reaction and a model for the catalytic hydrogenation is proposed. The most active copper catalyst was used to study the hydrogenation of alpha-methyl styrene in a 250 ml. slurry reactor and the conditions necessary for kinetic control of the reaction rate were determined. The reaction was found to be first order in hydrogen and zero order in alpha-methyl styrene. Application of these results requires a knowledge of the solubility of hydrogen in alpha-methyl styrene and cumene and was acquired by experiment. The solubility in both liquids increased in the range from room temperature to 150°C and obeyed Henry's law at pressures up to 7 bar. The diffusivity of hydrogen in alpha-methyl styrene was determined at temperatures between 110 and 150°C and was found to increase with temperature and to be independent of pressure. A 2.5 litre slurry reactor was also utilized to study the hydrogenation of alpha-methyl styrene under conditions leading to mass transfer control of the reaction rate. Mass transfer coefficients were evaluated and compared with those calculated from correlations in the literature.
Date of Award1975
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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