Originally Posted: January 4, 2017
A new catalyst for breaking the tough molecular bond between carbon and hydrogen holds the promise of a cleaner, easier and cheaper way to derive products from petroleum, says a researcher at Southern Methodist University, Dallas.
“Some of the most useful building blocks we have in the world are simple, plentiful hydrocarbons like methane, which we extract from the ground. They can be used as starting materials for complex chemical products such as plastics and pharmaceuticals,” said Isaac Garcia-Bosch, Harold A. Jeskey Endowed Chair assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at SMU. “But the first step of the process is very, very difficult — breaking that carbon-hydrogen bond. The stronger the bond, the more difficult it is to oxidize.”
The chemical industry must break the tenacious bond between carbon and hydrogen molecules to synthesize oxidative products such as methanol and phenols. It’s called oxidizing because it causes the molecule to undergo a reaction in which it combines with oxygen, breaking C-H bonds and forming new carbon-oxygen bonds. READ MORE