Faculty Advisor

Kmiotek, Stephen J.

Faculty Advisor

Teixeira, Andrew R


It is of upmost importance for pharmaceutical companies to fully understand their drug production process. Sunovion Pharmaceuticals identified their heterogeneous palladium on carbon catalyst as a strategic area to enhance efficiency by establishing superior catalyst characterization. A device was designed, constructed, and validated for determining the surface area and dispersion of the catalyst by chemisorption, in addition to Scanned Electron Microscopy and Brunauer Emmett Teller techniques. Moreover, mass diffusion limitations were identified based on presence of microporous graphite carbon support and tested by zero length column analysis and temperature programmed desorption. Formal recommendations are proposed to direct the future use of precious metal catalysis by Sunovion.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2018


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering