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J Phys Chem B. 2006 Jul 27;110(29):14283-91.

Catalytic hydrodeoxygenation of methyl-substituted phenols: correlations of kinetic parameters with molecular properties.

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  • 1Departments of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.


The hydrodeoxygenation of methyl-substituted phenols was carried out in a flow microreactor at 300 degrees C and 2.85 MPa hydrogen pressure over a sulfided CoMo/Al(2)O(3) catalyst. The primary reaction products were methyl-substituted benzene, cyclohexene, cyclohexane, and H(2)O. Analysis of the results suggests that two independent reaction paths are operative, one leading to aromatics and the other to partially or completely hydrogenated cyclohexanes. The reaction data were analyzed using Langmuir-Hinshelwood kinetics to extract the values of the reactant-to-catalyst adsorption constant and of the rate constants characterizing the two reaction paths. The adsorption constant was found to be the same for both reactions, suggesting that a single catalytic site center is operative in both reactions. Ab initio electronic structure calculations were used to evaluate the electrostatic potentials and valence orbital ionization potentials for all of the substituted phenol reactants. Correlations were observed between (a) the adsorption constant and the two reaction rate constants measured for various methyl-substitutions and (b) certain moments of the electrostatic potentials and certain orbitals' ionization potentials of the isolated phenol molecules. On the basis of these correlations to intrinsic reactant-molecule properties, a reaction mechanism is proposed for each pathway, and it is suggested that the dependencies of adsorption and reaction rates upon methyl-group substitution are a result of the substituents' effects on the electrostatic potential and orbitals rather than geometric (steric) effects.

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