Dr Shweta Hegde is a spectroscopist and catalyst characterization expert with over 14 years of experience in SABIC. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Pune, India in the area of nanomaterials and catalysis. At SABIC, Shweta is involved in research and development of new materials and catalysts through in-situ spectroscopic techniques, continuous real time monitoring of reaction feed and products. She hold a keen interest in building advanced spectroscopic setups in the area of process analytical technology for the business.
A significant number of industrial refining and petrochemical processes involve the use of catalysts. Reactants adsorb on the catalyst surface and subsequently desorb to form both desired and some undesired products. The catalytically active sites on the surface, drive the reaction forward and in turn are responsible for the product profile that is formed. The active sites on a catalyst are tailor made using proven, commercial synthetic routes and are designed based on the process and the petrochemical building blocks that are involved in the reaction.
Recent advances in spectroscopic techniques such as in-situ IR techniques coupled with continuous real time measurements have enabled us to study interactions of reactant molecules on the catalyst surfaces. This vapor phase technique is highly sensitive in the transmission mode where, the vibrational modes of the reacting molecules were closely monitored as they coordinate with the surface hydroxyl groups of the catalyst (e.g. metal oxide surface). The catalyst was activated at high temperature to allow the surface active hydroxyl groups to be available for coordination with base molecules (for acid site density calculations) and acid molecules (for base site density calculations). The active site location, distribution and strength is effectively monitored during the equilibration phase. Spectroscopic studies on pyridine adsorption and coordination of the surface over metal oxide structures have been discussed in details in this presentation.