Researchers at Leipzig University Develop new Measurement Principle for Chemical Catalysis

Researchers at Leipzig University Develop new Measurement Principle for Chemical Catalysis

Researchers at Leipzig University have succeeded in developing a new measurement principle for chemical catalysis. It allows to evaluate reactions with unprecedented accuracy and reliability. This is an essential prerequisite for optimizing this chemical process in terms of energy efficiency and environmental compatibility. "Our measurement principle could lead to revolutionary innovations in the field of catalysis," says physicist Prof. Dr. Jörg Kärger, who has developed the principle together with the chemist Prof. Dr. Roger Gläser and other scientists of Leipzig University.

The title image of the Christmas edition of the magazine "ChemCatChem" is reminiscent of a Christmas bauble. However, it is the artistic representation of a catalyst particle and, embedded in it, a novel measurement principle developed by researchers at Leipzig University. Photo: Wiley-VCH

The researchers recently published their research results in the online edition of the renowned journal "ChemCatChem". In the printed Christmas edition of the journal, the article appears as a cover article. In it, the researchers describe a new approach to determine the pore utilization ratio during catalysis. With this process, the pore utilization ratio can be determined directly during the reaction as a key parameter of their efficiency "with one shot". The targeted use of catalysts opens up a variety of opportunities for the development of resource-saving and energy-efficient processes for fabric finishing. Catalysis is one of the key pillars in the research profile area "Sustainable Systems and Biodiversity" within the strategic research field "Sustainable Basics for Life and Society" of Leipzig University.

"A current topic in this context is the production of transport-optimized catalysts. These are often nanoporous solids, at whose preferably large internal surface the catalytic reaction proceeds," explains Gläser. In this way, as many molecules as possible shall come into contact with the active surface so that as many of the desired product molecules as possible can be formed in a given time unit. For this to be possible, the product molecules formed – as a result of their random motion due to their thermal energy – have to be replaced sufficiently quickly by "fresh" molecules. The fraction of these fresh molecules in the total filling of the catalyst pores, which is referred to as pore utilization ratio, thus represents a direct measure of the efficiency of a catalyst. Since its introduction a century ago, the determination of pore utilization ratio is a major research challenge," says Kärger.

The definition that "catalysis ... is the acceleration of a ... chemical process by the presence of a foreign substance", where this substance, the "catalyst, ... increases the speed of a chemical reaction without being consumed by it" stems from Wilhelm Ostwald, one of the most prominent researchers of Leipzig University and the Saxon Academy of Sciences at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. For his work on catalysis Ostwald was honored in 1909 with the Nobel Prize.

C. Chmelik, M. Liebau, M. Al‐Naji, J. Möllmer, D. Enke, R. Gläser, J. Kärger
"One‐Shot Measurement of Effectiveness Factors of Chemical Conversion in Porous Catalysts"
ChemCatChem 10, 5602 (2018)

Translated from the Press Release of Leipzig University

Further Information:
Prof. Dr. Jörg Kärger
Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences
Tel.: +49 (0) 341 97-32 502
Email | Website

Prof. Dr. Roger Gläser
Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy
Tel.: +49 (0) 341 97-36 301
Email | Website

last modified: 23.09.2019

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