Homologation and hydrogenolysis of linear and branched butenes and butanes on Ru/SiO2 catalysts

Eloy Rodriguez*, Michel Leconte, Jean Marie Basset

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In order to investigate the possible mechanism(s) by which CC bonds are cleaved or are formed on metallic surfaces, the reactions of linear and branched butenes and butanes over Ru/SiO2 catalysts are studied. At temperatures above 50-100°C and in the presence of hydrogen, 1-butene, cis-2-butene, trans-2-butene, or isobutane simultaneously undergo isomerization (cis-trans isomerization or double-bond migration), hydrogenation, hydrogenolysis, and homologation reactions. In the same conditions, n-butane and isobutane only undergo hydrogenolysis. The influence of the structure of the starting hydrocarbon, contact time, reaction temperature, and hydrogen/hydrocarbon ratio on conversions and selectivities has been examined. Mechanisms for these reactions of hydrocarbons over metallic surfaces in the presence of hydrogen are envisaged using the known concepts of molecular chemistry: the results suggest that metal-alkyl species are key intermediates. Concerning hydrogenolysis and homologation of butenes, it appears that these two reactions occur at comparable rates, which suggests that they are mechanistically related. These reactions involve: (i) the formation of C3 and C1 (probably methylene) fragments from a C4 olefin and (ii) the reaction of the C1 fragments with the starting olefin to give C5 hydrocarbons, in competition with the hydrogenation of these C1 fragments leading to methane. Two simple mechanisms can explain the simultaneous and reversible nature of these two reactions of CC bond cleavage and formation: (i) the insertion-deinsertion of a metallocarbene into (or from) a metal-alkyl species and (ii) the formation-rearrangement of a dimetallacyclopentane intermediate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-481
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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