Prof Kenneth Waugh - research


 

Research interests

Heterogeneous catalysis is the great enabling discipline of chemistry. Over 80% of all the worlds industrial chemicals are produced through the aegis of a heterogeneous catalyst. Because both of its complexity and its applicability, it has been a subject of enduring intellectual stimulation, witnessed by the award of 13 Nobel Prizes to scientist engaged in the subject, from vant Hoff (1901) and Haber (1918) to Ertl (2007), all of whom worked on the catalysis of ammonia synthesis.

My current research interests are in: (i) the epoxidation of ethylene to ethylene oxide on Ag/Al2O3 catalysts [1-3], (ii) methanol synthesis on supported Cu catalysts [4-10], (iii) ethyl acetate synthesis on supported Cu catalysts, [11] and (iv) Fischer-Tropsch synthesis on supported Co catalysts.

In the area of ethylene epoxidation on Ag/Al2O3 we have shown that the stronger the Ag-O bond is, the less selective it is. We have also shown that the Cl and Cs promoters in Ag/Al2O3 catalysts (additives which increase selectivity) weaken the Ag-O bond (Cl) and block the formation of the strong Ag-O bond (Cs) [1-3]. I am currently collaborating with the software company, Accelrys, on molecular modelling of the likely intermediates involved (see figure) to determine the dynamics of the selective and unselective reactions [12].

In the area of Cu based catalysis, my interest is in determining, in situ, the morphology of the operating catalyst. I am particularly interested in investigating the role of subsurface hydrogen atoms in Cu in determining the surface morphology of the Cu. I am also investigating the extent to which subsurface H contributes to the surface hydrogen reaction.

Publications List

[1] The Activity and Selectivity of Oxygen Atoms Adsorbed on a Ag/?-Al2O3 Catalyst in Ethene Epoxidation, J Couves, M Atkins, M Hague, B H Sakakini and K C Waugh, Catal Lett, 99 (2005) 45

[2] On the Role of Cs, Cl and Subsurface O in Promoting Selectivity in Ag/?-Al2O3 Catalysed Oxidation of Ethene to Ethene Epoxide, M Atkins, J Couves, M Hague, B H Sakakini and K C Waugh, J Catal 235 (2005) 103

[3] Mechanisms in Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Epoxidation Catalysis, Ed S Ted Oyama, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2008, p 233

[4] The Adsorption and Locking-in of Hydrogen in Copper, K C Waugh, Solid State Ionics 168, (2004) 327

[5] Surface Reconstruction of a Real Catalyst: Morphological Changes of the Copper Component of a Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 Catalyst Produced by Adsorption and Reaction, B H Sakakini, J Tabatabaei, M J Watson and K C Waugh, J Molecular Catal A 162 (2000) 297-306

[6] Identification of the Intermediate Involved in Methanol Synthesis by Gaseous Titration, B H Sakakini, J Tabatabaei, M J Watson, K C Waugh and F W Zemicael Faraday Discuss 105 (1996) 369-376

[7] Adsorption and Reaction Induced Morphological Changes of the Copper Surface of a Methanol Synthesis Catalyst, R A Hadden, B H Sakakini, J Tabatabaei and K C Waugh Catal Lett 44 (1997) 145-151

[8] Mechanism of Methanol Synthesis on Copper/Zinc Oxide/Alumina Catalysts, M Bowker, R A Hadden, H Houghton, J N K Hyland, K C Waugh, J Catal 109(2) (1988) 263-273

[9] The Measurement of Copper Surface Areas by Reactive Frontal Chromatography, G C Chinchen, C M Hay, H D Vandervell, K C Waugh, J Catal 103 (1987) 79-86

[10] The Detailed Kinetics and Mechanism of Ethylene Epoxidation on an Oxidised Ag/?-Al2O3 Catalyst, K C Waugh and M Hague Catal Today 157 (2010) 44-48

[10] The Detailed Kinetics of the Desorption from Hydrogen on Polycrystalline Copper Catalysis, J Tabatabaei, B H Sakakini, M J Watson and K C Waugh, Catal Lett 59 (1999) 143

[11] The Detailed Kinetics and Mechanism of Ethyl Ethanoate Synthesis over a Cu/Cr2O3 Catalyst, S W Colley, J Tabatabaei, K C Waugh and M A Wood, J Catal 236 (2005) 21

[12] The Detailed Kinetics and Mechanism of Ethylene Epoxidation on an Oxidised Ag/?-Al2O3 Catalyst, K C Waugh and M Hague Catal Today 157 (2010) 44

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