Low Temperature Chemical Conversion Opens New Avenues for Chemists

Low Temperature Chemical Conversion

The field of chemistry has seen a great deal of advancements owing to perpetual research and development activities. Scientists have always emphasized on speeding up chemical reactions to get optimal results. However, there are several bottlenecks in driving a chemical conversion process at low temperature. The generation of carbon dioxide in these chemical reactions is one of the major issues. The researchers from U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory identified a technique of chemical conversion at low temperature. They managed to convert cyclohexane to cyclohexadiene or cyclohexene without producing carbon dioxide.

Dehydrogenation to Aid Low Temperature Chemical Conversion

Stefan Vajda, a chemist from J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry states that cyclohexane is a principal molecule to start numerous chemical reactions. However, it is difficult to convert it in cyclohexene without using an optimal catalyst. Initiating the chemical reaction without a catalyst requires tremendously high temperature which is expensive.

Larry Curtis, a chemist from Argonne and Vajda studied a reaction called oxidative dehydrogenation. In this reaction, hydrogen molecules are detached from a larger molecule. It facilitates the production of cyclohexene and cyclohexadiene and also eliminates carbon dioxide production. This study introduced new components that aided Argonne team’s previous studies. Vajda said that as the dehydrogenation process happens at a relatively low temperature, it prevents conversion of cyclohexene and cyclohexadiene into unwanted products.

The scientists further studied the stability of the catalysts and discovered that the chemical reaction does not poison highly selective catalyst. This chemical conversion has served as a major breakthrough in chemistry. It has also aided industrial production processes as cyclohexene finds several applications.

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