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CHY8424 : Contemporary Catalysis: Principles and Applications

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Simon Doherty
  • Lecturer: Dr John Errington
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module aims to:

(i) instill the basic principles of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis currently used in synthetic organic chemistry and major industrial processes;

(ii) highlight the environmental threats arising from the reliance on petrochemical resources;

(iii) show how organometallic and metalorganic chemistry is being used to develop efficient catalysts for alternative "green" and sustainable processes;

(iv) provide an awareness of contemporary research through the analysis of recent papers from leading groups.

Outline Of Syllabus

Homogeneous Catalysis
The basic principles and elementary steps required to understand homogeneous catalysis will be covered using selected examples from a range of important transformation selected from rhodium- and cobalt-catalyzed hydroformylation, rhodium and ruthenium-catalysed hydrogenation, alkene oligomerisation and polymerization, metathesis, isomerization reactions, palladium catalyzed cross couplings and aminations, carbonylation of alkenes, rhodium catalyzed cyclisations and palladium catalyzed oxidation of alkenes. Current challenges and emerging areas will be explored; potential topics will be selected from the following; feedstock’s and renewable resources, photocatalysis, catalysis with nanoparticles and biocatalysis. The industrial relevance and importance of selected reactions will be highlighted and discussed.

Heterogeneous Catalysis and Related Chemistry
The importance of catalysis will be highlighted through a discussion of the challenges facing the chemicals industry, the principles of “green” chemistry, the use of the E-factor and the need to develop new sustainable processes. A brief historical overview will be presented, followed by descriptions of selected large-scale industrial processes such as Haber-Bosch ammonia synthesis, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, CO2 conversion to methanol, alkene polymerization, alkene metathesis and associated examples of molecular studies aimed at understanding the relevant small molecule activation chemistry. The principles of surface organometallic chemistry (SOMC) will be introduced and selected examples will illustrate how this can be used to produce uniform distributions of isolated reactive sites for detailed studies of surface reactivity. The relevance to process innovation using alternative feedstocks will be emphasized throughout.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00PiP Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture81:008:00A combination of lecture recordings and text published on VLE
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion14:004:00Assignment Preparation (100%)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery111:0011:00Office hour drop in sessions
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study165:0065:00Background reading of module topics set during semesters and working on worksheets
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time80:304:00Problem solving, short presentation and discussion sessions
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Much of the key material is conceptual and is suited to delivery either as conventional lectures of via online lectures. The online module talks are designed to complement the lecture material and provide the students with an increased appreciation of the topics involved. Detailed analysis of research papers provides an element of blended learning aimed at research level skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1A100Alternative assessment (100%). Two sections A and B
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The alternate assessment written exercises will assess the student's knowledge and understanding of the principles, development and practice of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis.

There will be 1 assignment with two sections each worth 50% (100% in total).

Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss this.

Reading Lists