Ethylene Oxychlorination on CuCI2 based Catalysts: Operando Kinetic Study
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Polyvinyl chloride, popularly known as PVC is the third most used plastic in the world. It is used for producing pipes, synthetic leather, window frames, water hoses, floors, coatings, etc. PVC is durable, long lasting and can be recycled. The production of PVC involves different processes. The process of making PVC is called polymerization, which means putting the same kind of material together under the right conditions. The material that is put together to make PVC is called vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). VCM is made from another chemical known as ethylene dichloride (EDC). The process of forming VC from EDC is called cracking which is breaking away certain parts EDC. So then, if EDC is used to produce VC, then how can EDC be made? EDC can be prepared by two main processes called direct chlorination and oxychlorination. Another chemical, copper chloride is important for these two processes to occur at a certain temperature and pressure. Oxychlorination occurs when three chemicals, ethylene, oxygen and hydrogen chloride gas (HCl) are combined in the presence of the copper chloride. The challenges facing most PVC producers is that the copper chloride does not last long, therefore has to be replaced frequently, other unwanted chemicals can form besides EDC, and HCl, which is harmful to the environment, is not entirely used up in the production process. All these problems lead to increase in the overall cost of producing PVC. This work was aimed at modifying copper chloride with other chemicals such as potassium, cerium and lanthanum in order to overcome the challenges facing the PVC industry. Additionally, a new method for analyzing the modified copper chloride was developed which can also be used by other researchers in this field.