Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

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


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Saul I. Kreps

Second Advisor

William H. Snyder

Third Advisor

George C. Keeffe


The original purpose of this paper was to investigate the reaction kinetics of the air oxidation of para-nitro-toluene (PNT) to para-nitrobenzoic acid (PNBA). The reaction was to be carried out at atmospheric pressure and at temperatures between 100 and 175° C, and in the presence of an oxidation catalyst. However the main problem became one of trying to find a catalyst that would work at these conditions. The catalysts used were nickel acetate, cobaltous acetate, manganous acetate and manganese naphthenate. Hydrogen peroxide was tried as an accelerator for the reaction. None of these worked since no yield greater than 0.01% PNBA was ever obtained even after runs of up to 29 hours.

Because such low yields were obtained it is concluded that the oxidation conditions were not vigorous enough and that much higher pressures should be used to carry out the liquid phase oxidation of PNT with gaseous oxygen. The high pressure oxidation could not be tried because suitable equipment was not available.



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