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CODE 66402
SEMESTER 2° Semester


66402 - Chemistry and Technology of Catalysis + Laboratory (CTCATAL) is worth 6 forming credits (CFU). It takes place during the second semester of the first year of the Master Degree teaching on Sustainable polyMer And pRocess chemisTry (SMART) .

The teaching deals with various aspects of heterogeneous catalysis. The teaching deals with the preparation and characterization of heterogeneous catalysts, their kinetic performance and the influence of phenomena that limit the overall reaction rate. The approach is pragmatic and oriented to the development of sustainable industrial processes.



Aim of the teaching is to provide the basic knowledge on the preparation, characterization, and application of heterogeneous catalysts, also through practical laboratory experiences, introducing the student to the definition of sustainable processes.


At the end of the teaching the student will have to know the main methods of preparation and characterization of catalysts and be able to evaluate the influence of mass transfer phenomena on the reaction rate of heterogeneous catalytic reactions. Thanks to the laboratory activities, the student will be able to work in a group, presenting in written form of reports the results of experimental activities both summarizing the procedures adopted and analyzing and trying to interpret the observations and data obtained.


Fundamentals of general chemistry, chemical thermodynamics and kinetics.


- Lectures (32 hours)

- Laboratory experiences (mandatory attendance) (26 hours): Laboratory experiences are addressed by multi-student working groups (e.g. 3-4). The student will have to interact both within their own working group and at the same time it stimulates the interaction between the working groups in the reporting phase. Laboratory experiments on the preparation of catalysts allow groups to adapt and propose the synthesis procedure. Each working team, for each experience should write a short draft report. and within the end of the teaching one or two full reports (as agreed with the teacher) dealing with some of the experiences should be delivered by each working group. The approach of the whole laboratory is interactive both among students and with the teacher. 


Introduction: Fundamentals e background kinetics, catalysis, reactor engineering and chemical equilibrium thermodynamics. Industrial catalysts, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts. Heterogeneous catalysts: redox catalysts, catalysts for gas and liquid phase oxidations, hydrogenation and dehydrogenation catalysts, acid-base catalysts, multifuctional catalysts. Examples of catalysis applied to the development of green and eco-sustainable processes or in the pollution control. Methods of catalysts preparation: Support and properties. Synthesis of supports and of bulk catalysts. Precipitation, sol-gel, hydrothermal synthesis, stabilization, shaping. Zeolite synthesis. Synthesis of Raney Catalysts. Preparation of supported catalysts, methods of deposition and support selection. Impregnation with and without interaction (incipient wetness, homogeneous precipitation, ion exchange, adsorption). Scale-up of catalysts preparation. Catalyst characterization: techniques of characterization, morphology and physical characteristics, bulk and surface characterizations, technological properties. Low temperature vapour adsorption and physi-adsorption (N2 at 77K), electron microscopy (FESEM, TEM), spectroscopic techniques (FTIR), programmed temperature techniques (TPD, TPR, TPO, TG, DSC, DTA). Assessment of dispersed active sites by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) or chemisorption. Experimental procedures to assess the catalytic activity. Reaction regimes and mass transport regimes in heterogeneous catalysis. Laboratory activities and examples: Synthesis of supports (e.g. alumina or silica) and evaluation of porosity and of the  zero point of charge. Preparation of a supported catalyst by various techniques (e.g. ion exchange, precipitation, impregnations). Characterization by electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) and physi-adsorption. Analysis of gas-solid catalytic systems: reactors, experimental methods for limiting conditions. Experimental planning for kinetic measurements, material balances e data acquisition. inter-phase and intra-particle gradients. Gas-liquid-solid catalytic systems. TOF and activation energy calculation and interpretation.

This class contributes to the achievement of the following 2030 ONU Agenda sustainability Goals:

Goal 4: Quality education

Goal 5: Gender equality

Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Goal 13: Climate action

Goal 15: Life on Land


The slides of the teaching are made available in the Aulaweb page of the teaching in which other study and in-depth resources are made available as well as guidelines and materials to support laboratory activities.

D. Murzin, Engineering Catalysis. De Gruyter,  Berlin, Boston, 2013

D. Sanfilippo (ed.), The Catalytic Process from Laboratory to the Industrial Plant, Maraschi, Milano, 1994.

G. Bellussi (ed.), Material design for catalytic application, Maraschi, Milano, 1996

Other books for consultation

J.M.Thomas, W.J. Thomas, Principles and Practice of Heterogeneous Catalysis, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, 1996

R.J. Wijngaarden, A. Kronberg, K.R. Westerterp, Industrial catalysis: optimizing catalysts and processes, Wiley-VCH, 1998

F. Cavani et al., Fondamenti di Chimica Industriale, Zanichelli,  2022. Chapter 2 on Principi della Chimica Industriale pagg. 15-95 (It is in Italian)

Supplementary material is provided on request to working students or students with Learning difficulty (DSA) to meet specific needs.




The teaching is foreseen to start in the II semester of the academic year starting on 24/02/2025.

The timetable of the lessons will be published on the portal and usually takes place in theoretical terms of Monday (9-11) and Wednesday (12-13) and in laboratory sessions on Monday afternoon (14-18) as indicated by the teacher.

Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



Oral examination and evaluation on reports on the laboratory experiences. The discussion during the oral examination will begin from the laboratory experiences and then it will cover the main themes of the teaching: synthesis, characterization and testing of heterogeneous catalysts and applications.

Grading System: Final oral exam: 60%; Laboratory reports: 40%

For students disabilities or with specific learning disabilities (DSA), the examination procedures are in line with the University regulations for the performance of the examinations ( The DSA student can use concept maps previously agreed with the teacher.


The commission is composed of two components and one of them is the teacher of the teaching. The duration of the examination is not less than 30 min. In this way the commission is able to verify the achievement of the learning outcomes. The student should know the main methods of preparation and characterization of catalysts and be able to interpret the influence of mass transfer phenomena on the reaction speed of heterogeneous catalytic reactions both from a theoretical basis and from the laboratory experiences. If the learning outcomes will be not achieved the student is invited to study again and better following some teacher suggestions and explanations. 

For students with disabilities or with Learning Disability (DSA), the examination methods are consistent with the University regulations for the conduct of the exams (


Students who have valid certification of physical or learning disabilities on file with the University and who wish to discuss possible accommodations or other circumstances regarding lectures, coursework and exams, should speak both with the instructor and with Professor Sergio Di Domizio (, the Department’s disability liaison.

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Quality education
Quality education
Gender equality
Gender equality
Affordable and clean energy
Affordable and clean energy
Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable cities and communities
Responbile consumption and production
Responbile consumption and production
Climate action
Climate action
Life on land
Life on land