Characterisation of catalysts via Inverse liquid chromatography (ILC)
Flow chemistry is a continuous synthesis process that utilises columns and tubing, rather than traditional glassware. This relatively new field has gained research traction in the last 10 years due to the potential increase in safety, efficiency and reproducibility when compared to traditional methodology. The flow system allows for enhanced control over reaction conditions at a reduced material scale. Consequently, the approach is often more cost effective and energy efficient; aspects that are becoming increasingly relevant in heterogenous catalysis with rising material and energy costs.
The project aims to investigate whether catalytic reactions can be monitored and optimised using an ILC column, and to develop a reliable and repeatable methodology for catalyst reaction characterisation and optimisation. It is theorised that this approach will provide an overall picture of catalyst-reaction material interactions during an optimisation process, while also enabling the rapid assessment of reactions involving molecules in which heteroatoms and functional groups may be changed to effect reaction mechanism and rate. This method will provide much needed information regarding the changes that occur on the catalytic surface when the stoichiometry, reactants or reaction conditions are varied. There is also potential to more efficiently analyse the bleeding of catalytic material, a recurring problem in flow-chemistry catalysis, as metal complexes or particulates.