Industrial Phase Transfer Catalysis

Phase-transfer catalyst or PTC is a catalyst that facilitates the migration of a reactant from one phase into another phase where reaction occurs. Phase-transfer catalysis is a special form of heterogeneous catalysis. Ionic reactants are often soluble in an aqueous phase but insoluble in an organic phase in the absence of the phase-transfer catalyst. The catalyst functions like a detergent for solubilizing the salts into the organic phase. Phase-transfer catalysis refers to the acceleration of the reaction upon the addition of the phase-transfer catalyst.

By using a PTC process, one can achieve faster reactions, obtain higher conversions or yields, make fewer byproducts, eliminate the need for expensive or dangerous solvents that will dissolve all the reactants in one phase, eliminate the need for expensive raw materials and/or minimize waste problems. Phase-transfer catalysts are especially useful in green chemistry allowing the use of water so the need for organic solvents is reduced.

PTC is not limited to systems with hydrophillic and hydrophobic reactants. PTC is sometimes employed in liquid/solid and liquid/gas reactions. As the name implies, one or more of the reactants are transported into a second phase which contains both reactants.

PTC Organics Inc. is the only company dedicated exclusively to developing and commercializing low-cost high-performance green chemistry processes using phase-transfer catalysis.

They have unmatched experience working on more than 100 commercial PTC development projects under secrecy agreements with chemical companies manufacturing pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, monomers, polymers, petrochemicals, flavors & fragrances, dyes & pigments, solvents, high energy materials and other specialty, fine and commodity organic chemicals.
PTC ‘s highly specialized expertise in industrial phase-transfer catalysis encompasses all aspects of process development from initial screening of breakthroughs through workup, catalyst separation and recycle when required.

Marc Halpern from PTC Organics Inc is our course tutor on our Industrial Phase Transfer Catalysis Courses.

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PTC Tip of the Month

Alternative Explanation for the Mechanism of PTC-Suzuki 

Last month we highlighted the PTC-Suzuki reaction in the PTC Tip of the Month that included a speculated explanation
for the role of the phase-transfer catalyst cited in previous publications. Peter Wuts, renowned author of the authoritative book
“Protecting Groups: Effects on Chemical Reactivity,” sent us an explanation of the mechanism of this reaction that suggests
an alternative role of the phase-transfer catalyst in the PTC-Suzuki system. Click here to read Dr. Wuts’ expert input.