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Introduction To Organic Chemistry



Catalytic Reforming of Alkanes

Catalytic Reforming is a process similar to cracking in which straight-chain hydrocarbons are broken up and then reassembled into branched-chain hydrocarbons. In the process below heptane gasoline is reformed to a branched alkane 2,2,4-trimethyl pentane.

This process actually converts low-grade gasoline (low-ocatne rating) is converted to high-grade gasoline. Gasoline with a high proportion of straight-chain alkanes has a 'low octane' rating because it causes knocking in the octane engine. For example straight-chain heptane is assigned an 'octane rating' of 0. The branched alkane 2,2,4-trimethyl pentane, on the other hand, is assigned an octane rating of 100. (Lambert, N and Mohammed, M., 1993).

One other example of reforming is the hexane to benzene in the presence of platinum catalyst.

 500oC/15 atm

            C 6 H 14     C 6 H 6   +  4H 2

      hexane   Pt catalyst         benzene

Note the reforming process when you click it. Then click the back button in the top left handside of your screen browser, to get back to the reforming of alkane.