Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)


Chemical Engineering and Chemistry

First Advisor

Deran Hanesian

Second Advisor

James M. Grow

Third Advisor

S. Dutta


The heterogeneous catalytic decomposition of isopropyl alcohol vapor over 0.5% platinum on (4-8 mesh) charcoal support catalyst was studied at bench-top in a fixed-bed tubular micro-reactor of about 1 cm ID, six inches long containing one or two grams of catalyst. Reactor feed and exit gas analysis was obtained by gas chromatography.

Experimental runs aimed at determining the Arrhenius parameters and the reaction order (assuming the applicability of a simple power law model) were performed with 1 and 2 grams of catalyst at various residence times ranging from 0.24 to 2.3 seconds and temperatures of 150°, 175°, 200°, 225°, and 250 degrees Celsius. In addition, a short study of the reaction selectivity (as impacted by temperature only) was made for reactor temperatures ranging from 100° to 400°C.

Because all runs were operated under laminar flow conditions, the specific reaction rate constants were calculated from both the plug flow and the dispersion models. A comparison of corresponding k-values between the two methods revealed no statistically significant difference despite the fact that the dispersion group had indicated moderate dispersion (0.025 5. ≤ Dz/vsL ≤ 0.05).

Finally, severe catalyst decay observed at both high (400°C) and low (150°C) temperature levels narrowed the range of study to the above temperature conditions. Although the actual causes of catalyst deactivation remain inconclusive, sintering and fouling are felt to be responsible for high and low temperature decays, respectively.



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