Prof. Dr. Martin Muhler
Within the first funding period, the CRC’s Comparative Study delivered generic reactivity trends that allow the establishment and validation of structure–activity correlations. In the second funding period, this systematic approach will be extended to obtain mechanistic understanding and identification of active sites in close collaboration with the electrochemical projects. Because hydroperoxides are the key intermediates in the oxidation of cyclohexene and cyclohexane, separate decomposition experiments will be performed. A combination of radical initiator and radical scavenger experiments and EPR investigations will be routinely conducted to elucidate the radical mechanisms. In addition, molecular model catalysts will be also tested, which mimic domains of the real structure of the catalysts and help to identify the active sites. Finally, a continuously operated three-phase capillary reactor will be established, which is especially suitable to study long-term stability, and a heated high-pressure batch reactor equipped with electrodes will be built jointly, enabling both thermal and electrochemical kinetic studies in close collaboration with the electrochemical projects.
(Figure: Schematic representation of the applied methods for mechanistic understanding).