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Platinum Metals Rev., 1982, 26, (1), 15

Homogeneous Catalysts of the Platinum Metals

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The advantages of employing catalysts that are soluble in the reactant are being increasingly appreciated in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries where their high activity per unit weight of metal, high selectivity and great endurance offer important savings.

To assist those working in a research, development or production role who may be considering homogeneous catalysis as a solution to their problem a 54 page book has now been prepared by Johnson Matthey Chemicals Limited. In the first of two major sections a summary is given of the principles of homogeneous catalysis and of the advantages that it offers. This is illustrated by the success of the Joint Union Carbide—Davy McKee—Johnson Matthey low pressure rhodium catalysed hydroformylation of propylene to n-butyraldehyde that is now in large scale operation in a number of plants to the extent of over one million tons per year. The main features of homogeneous catalysis employing compounds of the platinum metals include the only possible route to some products as well as economic advantages such as high yield, lower capital and operational costs and operation at lower pressures and temperatures than those generally associated with heterogeneous catalysis.

In the second section a list is given of over 120 compounds of platinum, palladium, iridium, rhodium, ruthenium and osmium that are known to act as homogeneous catalysts, with their solubility data and with some 200 references to the relevant literature on their use in homogeneous catalysis and classified by reaction type, while advice on their safe handling is included. All are available as research samples and many in bulk for production scale use.

The commercial success of a homogeneous catalytic process can be affected by the efficiency with which the catalyst can be recovered and the metal recycled. A number of methods have been developed by Johnson Matthey Chemicals and the service offered for this operation is also summarised.

The publication is available from Johnson Matthey Chemicals Limited, Orchard Road, Royston, Hertfordshire, or from any Johnson Matthey office throughout the world.

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