Catalysis: A golden future

Research paper by Graham J Hutchings

Indexed on: 01 Dec '96Published on: 01 Dec '96Published in: Gold bulletin


The recent literature concerning the use of supported gold catalysts is reviewed. In particular, two main uses of gold catalysts are considered, namely (a) the hydrochlorination of ethyne using supported chlorides, and (b) the oxidation of carbon monoxide at ambient temperature. For the hydrochlorination of ethyne a correlation of catalytic activity with the metal standard electrode potential predicted that gold would be the most active catalyst for this reaction, and subsequent experimental work confirmed this prediction. Low temperature oxidation of carbon monoxide is a reaction of current environmental interest and gold catalysts are effective at ambient conditions. For both these reactions, gold is found to be the most active catalyst and is therefore the metal of choice.