Aromatics at a Pinch

Aromatics at a Pinch

Author: David Bradley

The dehydrogenation of acyclic alkanes to make higher alkylaromatic compounds can be done with heterogeneous catalysts at high temperature, but gives low yields and low selectivity. Now, a Rutgers team has developed a catalyst that works with an olefinic hydrogen acceptor to convert n-alkanes into alkylaromatics.

The reaction of n-octane, for example, gives 86 % yield of primarily o-xylene and secondarily ethylbenzene. The use of this catalyst could reduce reliance on oil as the starting material because n-alkanes can be made by reductive oligomerization of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

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