Hydrogenation

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Definition - What does Hydrogenation mean?

Hydrogenation is an addition reaction where hydrogen molecules are used to saturate organic compounds. This process is effective under certain catalytic conditions and controlled temperatures depending on the type of hydrocarbon. This process aims to convert the pi bonds into sigma bonds, which are stronger, and make them solid under atmospheric temperature.

Hydrogenation is used in the oil industry in making trans fats or margarine by increasing the melting point through reducing the carbon-to-carbon double bonds. The oil industry suffers from hydrogenation corrosion, which occurs in components that host gaseous hydrogen compounds at high temperatures.

Corrosionpedia explains Hydrogenation

The transition metals used as catalysts in the formation of saturated fats absorb the hydrogen and the pi orbitals of the organic compound. As the hydrogen is attracted to the hydrocarbons, they tend to disassociate themselves from the metal, and hence form sigma bonds with the carbon atoms. This process occurs in steps as one hydrogen atom is being added to the unsaturated organic compound.

Hydrogenation can occur in transition metals regardless of their use in saturating organic compounds. Since most of the noble metals like titanium are used in fat hydrogenation under certain temperature and pressure, hydrogen can be added to transition metals and thus form hydrides. The oil industry suffers from hydrogenation corrosion since it works under high temperatures and pressure.


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