Solvent effects in the hydrogenation of 2-butanone

B. S. Akpa, C. D'Agostino, L. F. Gladden, K. Hindle, H. Manyar, J. McGregor, R. Li, M. Neurock, N. Sinha, E. H. Stitt, D. Weber, J. A. Zeitler, D. W. Rooney

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135 Scopus citations


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 2 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-41
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Catalysis
StatePublished - May 2012


  • 2-Butanone
  • DFT
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Hydrogenation
  • Mass transfer
  • Mixed solvents
  • Ru
  • Solvent effects


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