Oxidation by oxygen of commercial mixtures of butanes was investigated at temperatures between 300" C and 450' C and at atmospheric pressure. Special attention was given to the formation of formaldehyde, as a function of the presence of different heterogeneous catalysts and of the residence time.

At the same time a method was developed for determining the reaction products; formaldehyde, particularly, may be determined by a colorimetic method, in presence of other oxygenated byproducts.


On a étudié l'oxydation par oxygène d'un mé- lange commercial de butanes à des températures entre 300° C et 450° C et à pression atmosphérique. La réaction est étudiée particulièrement en vue de la formation de l'aldéhyde formique, en fonction de la présence de diffé- rents catalyseurs hétérogènes et du temps de contact.

En même temps on a développé une méthode de détermination des produits de réaction; I'aldehyde formique, particulièrement, peut être déterminée par une méthode colorimétriqve en présence d'autres produits secondaires oxygénés.


The partial oxidation of hydrocarbons which allows to obtain a large number of oxygenated compounds of very high commercial interest, constitutes one of the more interesting and actual fields of research of petrochemistry.

The continuously iacreasing development of the petroleum industry makes enormous quantities of very low priced hydrocarbons available for which the problem of the most convenient utilization is always actual. This is particularly true for paraffinic hydrocarbons of low molecular weight like propane and butanes for which there is a limited interest as fuels. It is clear that the possibility of their convenient transformation into oxygenated compounds like alcohols, aldehydes and acids, for which the * Authors' Biographies vide last page interest is always increasing, or into unsaturated products useful as monomers in polymerization, would upgrade these hydrocarbons economically. For these reasons in the last years the research in this field has steadily increased as it is proved by the very large number of patents and technical papers found in the literature.

In the field of scientific work on petrochemistry in our Institute after the study of oxidative cracking of propane and butanes', the study of processes of butane oxidation has been taken into particular consideration, above all to produce formaldehyde2.

The Investigated Process The possibility to obtain formaldehyde by direct oxidation of butanes is particularly interesting because of the ever increasing demand for this compound?. 45 1 The substitution of the production of formaldehyde from methanol by suc

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