Chemistry Department seminar: 1 April 2011
By Patricia Forbes
Posted on 23 March 2011
Metrogeneous Catalysis: a homo-eye for a hetero-guy by Prof Reinout Meijboom (Department of Chemistry, University of Johannesburg)
When: Friday, 1 April 2011
Time: 11:30 - 12:30
Venue: The Avogadro – Chemistry
Building Room 3.22
Abstract: Homogeneous catalysis and heterogeneous catalysis have traditionally been treated as completely separate subjects. In practice different communities have been researching homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis – leading to a separation of approaches. Homogeneous catalysis has traditionally been researched in chemistry departments, whereas heterogeneous catalysis has mostly been researched in chemical engineering departments (this is a simplification). South Africa and the Netherlands are among the few countries where these two communities get together in one forum and communicate their results to a combined audience.
The approach to research has been different in these two communities as well. Homogeneous catalysis research is mainly focusing on the synthesis of molecularly defined species, crystallographic and molecular orbital approaches to describe the catalysts and mechanistical investigations to gain insight in the process. Heterogeneous catalysis, on the other hand, traditionally focused on the thermodynamic properties of the process, i.e. the influence of pressure, temperature, etc on product selectivity (again a gross simplification).
In this presentation I will try to describe our approach to heterogeneous catalysis as seen through the eyes of a researcher trained in homogeneous catalysis. I will try to describe the overlaps and similarities between the two areas, as well as simplified descriptions of electronic and shape aspects. Our approach to heterogeneous catalysis using the tools of organometallic synthesis, crystallography, theoretical chemistry as well as kinetics will be explained. Additionally our approach to the synthesis of extremely well defined nanoparticles using a dendrimer template will be described, as well as some preliminary kinetic results of a catalytic reaction.