Industrial Catalysts

  • Lawrie Lloyd
Part of the Fundamental and Applied Catalysis book series (FACA)


The first industrial catalyst was probably the niter pot, which was used in the early sulfuric acid lead chamber process when it became known that oxides of nitrogen catalyzed the oxidation of sulfur dioxide. How was this important process— on which chemical development soon depended—discovered? Was it from the observation that cannons corroded or that condensation was acidic following the explosion of gunpowder? All the ingredients for chamber acid were there—sulfur, saltpeter, atmospheric air, and heat. Ostwald noted that “copious brown fumes” were evolved as gunpowder exploded, but did not make any comment on sulfur oxides.1 Empirical observations, or inspired deductions, during the 1800s led to the introduction of several more important catalytic processes. The inevitable development of a chemical industry based on the use of catalysts followed from a mass of experimental observations, such as those shown in Table 1.1, accumulated after Berzelius2 defined catalysts in 1835 (Figure 1.1).


Raney Nickel Ammonia Synthesis Industrial Catalyst Catalyst Production Catalyst Volume 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrie Lloyd
    • 1
  1. 1.BathUK

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