Learning the Fundamentals of Kinetics and Reaction Engineering With the Catalytic Oxidation of Methane
Understanding catalytic chemistry, collecting and interpreting kinetic data, and operating chemical reactors are critical skills for chemical engineers. This laboratory experiment provides students with a hands-on supplement to a course in chemical kinetics and reaction engineering. The oxidation of methane with a palladium catalyst supported on alumina (Pd/Al2O3) is used to introduce the ideal batch, plug-flow, and continuous stirredtank reactor types. Students can vary reactant partial pressures, temperature, and catalyst particle size to measure apparent activation energies, apparent reaction orders, effects of diffusion and mass transfer within catalytic pellets, and effects of product inhibition on reaction kinetics.