Conversion Mechanism of Meta-xylene Using Zeolite Verified (2012.5.24)
Professor Suk Bong Hong(CE and School of Environmental Science and Engineering) and Hyung Ki Min(CE, Ph.D. candidate) succeeded in converting meta-xylene to para-xylene using zeolite catalyst based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-computer(GC-MS-CPU) and isotope exchange method. Para-xylene which is used to make polyester fibers, plastic bottles, and films is a basic petrochemical material made through isomerization of meta-xylene, whose mechanism has been merely a hypothesis. Unlike other technologies, this technology can now be realized ex hypothesi.
The research team is receiving attention from academia for verifying this hypothesis. They directly observed reaction interm- ediate in isomerization of meta-xylene and succeeded in demonstrating “Product and Transition-State Shape Selectivity.” This means that distribution of the final products varies with size and shape of product and reaction intermediate. Until now, no other research teams were able to demonstrate it experimentally.
Prof. Hong stat-ed, “We expect to develop better zeo-lite catalysts than ZSM-5 type zeolite now that we have verified the mechanisms of heterogeneous catalyst reaction. Actually, we developed a new catalyst that is more selective and active than ZSM-5 type zeolite.”
This investigation of mechanism was certified scientifically and industrially for its importance because it provided the academia with vital clues that could lead to better catalysts than conventionally used ones, which is exclusively developed by a single manufacturer. This paper was published in ACS Catalysis, a renowned peer-reviewed scientific journal covering original research on catalysis.