Perpetua: The UAH Journal of Undergraduate Research


College of Engineering


Chemical and Materials Engineering


The industry for propylene oxide (PO) is in need of a more efficient, environmentally-friendly method of PO production. This study is focused on optimizing conditions for the gas-phase epoxidation of propylene with molecular oxygen in a single step over Cu catalysts for use in future research involving Au-Cu bimetallic catalysts. To do this, a 5 wt% Cu/SiO2 catalyst was prepared using incipient wetness impregnation and tested over a temperature range of 220-300 °C, varying the flow rate and ratio of reactants. Lower total flow rates led to higher conversions, and using excess oxygen favors complete combustion of propylene to CO2. As temperature was increased, conversion and CO2 selectivity were increased, and PO selectivity was decreased. These conditions will be used to design future Au-Cu bimetallic catalyst testing parameters.



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