College of Arts and Sciences

Center Facilities

Located in the Science and Technology Center, The Center for Applied Catalysis is well equipped to undertake catalyst evaluations and optimization of catalytic reactions as either a batch process or in a continuous mode.  Batch equipment is available to use for reactions run from atmospheric pressure to 1500 psig (100 bar).  These reactors range in size from 40 mL to 500 mL.  These small scale reactors provide an economy of scale important when a large number of reactions are being run.  

In order to properly evaluate a catalytic process, the reactor system must be able to measure and record all of the pertinent reaction data.  To accomplish this, all of the reactors in the Center have computerized monitoring and data acquisition systems capable of measuring and recording reaction temperature and pressure and the rate of gas uptake, where appropriate, over the course of the reaction.  With some reactors, the rate of agitation throughout the reaction is also recorded.  All of the batch reactors operate in a constant volume and constant pressure mode.

The Center also has several continuous reactor systems.

  • A fixed bed reactor which is computer controlled.  This reactor has three-stage heating with computer control of these temperatures.  In addition the computer monitors the reaction pressure, the liquid flow rate and inlet and outlet reactor gas flows.  All parameters have set limits which, when exceeded, automatically start a complete system controlled shut-down.
  • A high pressure continuous stirred tank reactors (CSTR’s) which is a modified autoclave with ISCO syringe pumps on the inlet and outlet of the reactor.  Here, too, there is computer monitoring of reaction temperature and pressure, gas uptake (where appropriate), reactant uptake and product formation.
  • A low pressure CSTR which is specially designed modification of the low pressure batch reactors with laser monitoring of the liquid level within the reactor.
  • A vapor phase reactor which is also fully computer controlled with automatic on-line gas chromatographic analyses of the product mixture at programmed intervals.