Date of this Version
Liquid-phase catalytic oxidation of oleic acid with hydrogen peroxide in the presence of various transition metal/metal oxide catalysts was studied in a batch autoclave reactor. Azelaic and pelargonic acids are the major reaction products. Tungsten and tantalum and their oxides in supported and unsupported forms were used as catalysts. Alumina pellets and Kieselguhr powder were used as supports for the catalysts. Tungsten, tantalum, molybdenum, zirconium, and niobium were also examined as catalysts. Tertiary butanol was used as solvent. Experimental results concluded that tungsten and tungstic oxide are more suitable catalysts in terms of their activity and selectivity. The rate of reaction observed in the case of supported catalysts appears to be comparable or superior to that of unsupported catalysts. In pure form, tungsten, tantalum, and molybdenum showed strong catalytic activity in the oxidation reaction; however, except for tantalum the other two were determined to be economically unfeasible. Zirconium and niobium showed very little catalytic activity. Based on the experimental observations, tungstic oxide supported on silica is the most suitable catalyst for the oxidation of oleic acid with 85% of the starting oleic acid converted to the oxidation products in 60 min of reaction with high selectivity for azelaic acid.