Propanol to propane: An advanced laboratory experiment using heterogeneous catalysts for two successive gas-phase reactions

Bruce Mattson, Martin Hulce, Wes Cheng, Jaclyn Greimann, Trisha Hoette, Peter Menzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


A sequence of two organic reactions involving gas-phase heterogeneous catalysis suitable for use as a laboratory experiment is outlined. In the first reaction, 2-propanol is converted to propene using alumina beads as the catalyst. The product gas is purified with a mini-cold trap. In the second reaction, propene is hydrogenated to propane using a palladium catalyst in nearly 100% yield. The experiment demonstrates continuous-flow, closed-system gas-phase reactions of fundamental importance in chemical industry. It also demonstrates the power of NMR in the context for which it actually is used by organic and inorganic chemists: structural confirmation and analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-424
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of chemical education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Education

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