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Highly Active and Selective Palladium Catalysts for Hydrogenation

Macro- and Meso-Structured Carbon Substrate is a Determining Factor for Superior Catalytic Performance

Heterogeneous palladium catalysts for hydrogenation are already very well studied and industrialized materials.   However, the unique hierarchical structure of the supporting carbon material has allowed successful and substantial improvement in the performance of conventional carbon supported palladium catalysts under mild conditions.

In the standard catalytic conversion of 4-nitrophenol to 4-aminophenol by hydrogenation these catalysts show approximately sixty-fold more activity compared to a commercial palladium-on-activated-carbon. When powdered, the catalysts are three-fold more active than a comparable commercial palladium-on-carbon powder.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1. Catalytic hydrogenation of 4-nitrophenol to 4-aminophenol


High purity carbon substrate contains networks of macropores, mesopores, and micropores, which enable extremely high surface area and easily accessible pores for 5-10nm palladium particles (Fig. 2). Uniformly dispersed nanoparticles are well protected from agglomeration, resulting in longer lifespans, better thermal stability and less pyrophoricity.

These products have macroporosity (10 micron) and mesoporosity (6 nm) which makes carbon considerably lower in density (0.27 g/mL versus 0.5 -0.8 g/mL) and lighter than other carbon supports. This macroporosity allows the palladium to be distributed throughout the carbon support instead of just on the outside. The result is a much greater metal surface area (130 m2/g vs. 20 m2/g) and a much smaller particle size (3.5 nm vs. 40 nm).

Fig. 2.1 FIg. 2.2

Fig. 2. Dispersion of 5-10 nm Pd particles (left) and macro/meso structure of support (right)


Palladium-on-Carbon catalysts are available in the form of powders (46-1610 and 46-1630) and pellets (46-1660) (See Table 1).  These catalysts focus mainly on common hydrogenation reactions for petrochemical, intermediate, and pharmaceutical processes.  However, tests have demonstrated that the catalysts are also very effective for carbon-carbon coupling reactions.

Table 1

Table 1. Pd/C Catalysts



Products mentioned in this blog:

46-1610: Palladium on carbon - 1 wt % loading, activated synthetic carbon powder [7440-05-3]

46-1630: Palladium on carbon - 5 wt % loading, activated synthetic carbon powder [7440-05-3]

46-1660: Palladium on carbon - 1 wt % loading, activated synthetic carbon pellet [7440-05-3]


For more information on these products please see our related literature sheet:

High Performance Carbon Supported Palladium Catalysts for Hydrogenation




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