The Mechanism of Ethylene Epoxidation Catalysis

  title={The Mechanism of Ethylene Epoxidation Catalysis},
  author={M. O. {\"O}zbek and Rutger Anthony van Santen},
  journal={Catalysis Letters},
Today ethylene oxide can be produced industrially with ~90 % selectivity through the epoxidation of ethylene over silver catalyst. The past decades there has been a substantial increase in the understanding of the molecular chemistry that leads to high selectivity catalysis. Especially the discovery of an oxometallacycle intermediate that produces ethylene epoxide in competition with acetaldehyde can be considered a major advancement. The state of the surface at reaction conditions causes… 

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It is proposed that selective and unselective pathways proceed via a common intermediate, the surface oxametallacycle, and from the calculated Gibbs free energies of activation for competing pathways, it is possible to predict selectivity to ethylene oxide as well as the magnitude of the kinetic isotope effect.

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Ethylene epoxidation catalyzed by chlorine-promoted silver oxide

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