Production of alkyl pyridines

Abstract

Claims

1. A PROCESS FOR PROUCTION OF BETA-PICOLINE WHICH COMPRISES REACTING ACROLEIN WITH AMMONIA IN THE PRESENCE OF A MOLAR EXCESS OF AMMONIA AND A CATALYST CONSISTING ESSENTIALLY OF BORON PHOSPHATE AT A TEMPERATURE OF FROM ABOUT 300*C. TO ABOUT 400*C. WITH A THROUGHPUT RATE OF FROM ABOUT 25 TO ABOUT 75 MOLS OF REACTANTS PER LITER OF CATALYST PER HOUR.
Patented Aug. 22, 1950 PRODUCTION OF ALKYL PYRIDINES George W. Hearne, El Cerrito, and Vernon W. Bills, Berkeley, Calii'., assig'nors to Shell Development Company, San Francisco, Calii., a corporation of Delaware No Drawing. Application June 2, 1947, Serial No. 751,968 8 Claims. -(Cl. 260-290) 1 This invention relates to the production of alkyl pyridines and relates more particularly to an improved process for the more eilicient production of methyl pyridines. Still more particularly the invention relates to the production of 2- methyl pyridine (beta-picoline). The alkyl pyridines such as for example, the methyl pyridines, are of importance not only because of their utilization as such in many fields of application but because of their value as starting or intermediate materials in the production of valuable derivatives thereof comprising dyes, pharmaceuticals and many other chemicals. Of the methyl pyridines 2-methy1 pyridine (betapicoline) is of prime importance as a starting material for the production of the anti-pellagra vitamin niacin (nicotinic acid). Though methods have been disclosed heretofore for the interaction 01' certain aldehydes with ammonia to form reaction products comprising alkyl pyridines, such processes are generally handicapped by difliculties rendering impractical their large-scale utilization. A particular disadvantage of such processes available heretofore is the inevitable production of reaction mixtures comprising only relatively small amounts of the desirable alkyl pyridine and/or a, relative inability to effect emcient conversion of the charge to products comprising substantial amounts of a particularly desired alkyl pyridine such as, for example, beta-plcoline. Of these processes those enabling the production of reaction products comprising representative amounts of a specific alkyl-pyridine such as, for example, beta-picoline, are generally further handicapped by an ability to convert the charge material to such a specifl'c product in representative amounts only when employing throughput rates which are so low as to render large. scale practical operation of the process unfeasible. It is an object of the present invention-to provide an improved process for the more eillcient production of alkyl-substituted pyridines. A more specific object of the invention is the provision of an improved process for the more eilicient production of methyl pyridines from alpha.betaunsaturated straight chain aliphatic aldehydes and ammonia. A particular object of the invention is the provision oi an improved process for the more eflicient production of beta-picoline from acrolein and ammonia. Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description thereof. The objects and advantages of the present invention are obtained by reacting an alphabets.- unsaturated aliphatic aldehyde, such as, for example, acrolein, with ammonia, and/or an allphatic primry amine, at a temperature in the range of from about 200 C. to about 500 C. in the presence of a compound of boron and phosphorus as a catalyst. In carrying out the process of the invention the alpha,betaunsaturated aliphatic aldehyde, such as, for example, acrolein, need not be employed in the pure state but may comprise lesser amounts of other materials such as, for example, hydrocarbons and other oxygenated hydrocarbons capable or not of undergoing conversion under the conditions employed. Such additionally present materials may comprise, for example, the parafiins such as, for example, methane, ethane, butane, pentane, hexane and their homologues, as well as the oxygenated derivatives thereof. Ammonia, gases comprising ammonia, or compounds giving rise to ammonia under the reaction conditions, employed as charge to the system, may be obtained from any suitable source. Although the use'of ammonia is preferred as the reactant providing the nitrogen atom, ammonia may be replaced in part or in its entirety with an aliphatic primary amine within the scope of the invention. Suitable aliphatic primary amines which may be employed comprise, for example, methylamine, ethylamine, n-propylamine, isopropylamine, n-butylamine, isobutylamine, the amylamines, the hexylamines, cyclopentylamine, methylcyclopentylamine, cyclohexylamine, and the like. If desired, more than one such amine may be charged to the reaction zone. The introduction of ammonia and/or amine is preferably controlled to maintain a molar excess of ammonia or amine in the reaction zone. Lesser proportions of ammonia. and/or amine may be employed, however, within the scope of the inven tion. A mol ratio of ammonia or amine, to aldehyde of from about 0.5 to about 20, and preferably from about 5 to about 15 may be employed. Although the reaction is carried out efliciently without the aid of diluent materials, their use may be resorted to within the scope of the invention. Diluents comprising, for example, nitrogen, steam, and the like, may be admixed with the ability to utilize high throughput rates without reduction in yield of the highly desirable am pyridine such as, for example, beta-picoline. It is therefore preferred to execute the reaction with throughput rates of at least 25 mols and up to about 75 mols of reactants per liter of catalyst per hour. The advantages in the production of alkyl pyridine such as, for example, beta-picoline by the reaction of an alpha-beta unsaturated straight chain aldehyde such as, for example, acrolein, with ammonia and/or a primary aliphatic amine, are obtained by the use of a catalyst consisting essentially of a compound of boron and phosphorus, such as, for example, boron phosphate. The invention is in no wise limited by the manner of production or source of the particular compound of boron and phosphorus, such as boron phosphate, employed as catalyst. The production of a boron phosphate catalyst particularly effective in obtaining the objects of the invention is exemplified by the following example: Example I 824 grams of powdered boric acid was added to 1730 grams of 85% phosphoric acid with constant stirring. Stirring of the mixture was continued until all of the boric acid was dissolved and a gelatinous material formed. This was allowed to stand twenty hours, then dried at 110 C. The resulting dried product was baked four hours at 350 C. during which it expanded and hardened to a solid foam. The baked catalyst was then crushed and screened to 8-14 mesh before use. The catalyst thus prepared may be employed as such or may be diluted with suitable inert solid diluents such as, for example, silica stone, crushed firebrick, pumice, clay, diatomaceous earth, etc. The catalyst may furthermore be employed in admixture with other materials such as, for example, adsorptive siliceous and aluminous materials as. for example, silica gel, activated alumina, and the like, which materials may or may not possess some degree of catalytic activity under the conditions of execution of the process. The boron phosphate catalysts employed in the process of the invention are preferably subjected to a preconditioning treatment before use comprising the step of heating them at a temperature of from about 300 C. to about 400 C., and preferably from about 325 C. to about 375 C. in a stream of ammonia or aliphatic amine. Such pretreatment it has been found results in the obtaining of substantial improvements in subsequent use of the catalyst in the execution of the process of the invention. Upon decline of activity of the catalyst durin use in the process they are readily regenerated by heating in an oxygencontaining gas. such as, for example, air, flue gas, or the like, at a temperature in the range of from about 300 C. to about 500 C., optionally followed by continued heating at this temperature in a stream of ammonia or aliphatic amine. Under the above-defined conditions an alpha,- beta-unsaturated aliphatic aldehyde will react with ammonia, and/or a primary aliphatic amine, to result in the production of reaction products comprising high yields of alkyl-substituted pyridines. Thus under these conditions, in the presence of a compound of boron and phosphorus as catalyst, acrolein will react with ammonia to result in reaction products comprising high yields of the highly desirable 2-methyl pyridine (betapicoline). A particular advantage of the proces of the invention directly attributable at least in part to the presence of a compound of boron and phosphorus is the ability to use substantially increased throughput rates without sacrifice of the high yields of the desirable beta-picoline as evidenced by the followin example: Example 11 Aerolein in admixture with 10.7 mols of ammonia per 1.1 mol of acrolein was passed at a temperature of 360 C. over cc. of the boron phosphate catalyst prepared in Example I above. The catalyst was pretreated by heating at a temperature of 350 C. in a stream of ammonia for 1 hour before use. A throughput rate of 40.4 mols of reactants per liter of catalyst per hour was employed. A conversion of acrolein to nitrogen bases of 53.92% was obtained. The nitrogen bases thus obtained contained 5.39% pyridine, 37.75% beta-picoline and 10.78% pyridine )ases higher boilin than beta-picoline. The substantial advantages inherent in the use of a compound of boron and phosphorus as catalyst in comparison with other catalysts is evidenced by the following example: Example III In ten separate operations acrolein was reacted with ammonia under the conditions and in the presence of the catalyst indicated-in the following table for each of the runs. Conversion of acrolein charged to pyridine bases was determined for each run as is indicated in the table: . Acrolein Ratio of Throughput Run C m it Temp, Ammonia to Mols total g Y QE F N a 7 C Acrolein in charge r g' igf Charge, Mols lit. catjh r. Per 1.-..-. Phosphoric Acid on 385 5.7 18.9 36.2 811 ca. 2 Aluminum Phos- 350 6.86 11.04 40 er"- 3 A rptive Alumina. 375 5. 5 l 22 5 20 7 4 do 305 5. 4 30 22. 6 5 Copper-Alumina..-. 355 13. 2 26. 4 29 0 Nickel-Nickel Oxide. 350 12. 0 26. 4 none 7.- Phosphoric Acid- 350 13.5 25.8 35.0 Alumina. 8 --do 350 ll.8 24.0 33.5 0 Boron Phosphaie...- 357 0. 63 40. 4 47. 83 10 --do 300 9. 87 37.1 n. 00 lwata'addediotbechsrn Although the invention has been described with particular reference to the production of 2- methyl pyridine (beta-picoline) from acrolein and ammonia, it is to be understood that it is in no wise limited thereto and may be applied to the reaction of other alpha,beta-unsaturated aldehydes with ammonia and/or primary aliphatic amines. Aldehydes which may be reacted with ammonia and/or primary aliphatic amines with particular advantage in the presence of a compound of boron and phosphorus in accordance with the invention comprise the alpha,beta-unsaturated straight chain aliphatic aldehydes of which the lowest member is acrolein. Examples of this particularly suitable class of aldehydes which may be employed comprise cortonaldehyde, acetaldehyde, propionaldehyde, n-butyraldehyde, n-valeraldehyde, n-capronaldehyde, n-heptaldehyde, etc. 3 The process of the invention may be executed in batch, semi-continuous or continuous operation. The process lends itself with advantage to eflicient continuous operation. The reaction zone employed may comprise one or more reactors of the tubular and/or chamber type enabling eificient contact of the reactants with the catalyst employed. The catalyst may be employed inthe form of a stationary or moving bed of solid catalyst, or in the form of a suspension or a fluidized state. Eliluence from the reaction zone may be subjected to any suitable product separation opera tion comprising one or more such steps as distillation, fractionation, solvent extraction, and the like, to eii'ect the separation of a specific alkyl pyridine such as, for example, beta-picoline, from other reaction products and from unconverted material. The invention claimed is: 1. A process for the production of beta-picoline which comprises reacting acrolein with ammonia in the presence of a molar excess of ammonia and a catalyst consisting essentially of boron phosphate at a temperature of from about 300 C. to about 400 C. with a throughput rate of from about 25 to about 75 mols of reactants per liter of catalyst per hour. 2. A process for the production of beta-picoline which comprises reacting acrolein with ammonia in the presence of a catalyst consisting essentially of boron phosphate at a temperature of from about 200 C. to about 500 C. with a throughput rate of from about 25 to about 75 mols of reactants per liter of catalyst per hour. 3. A process for the production of beta-picoline which comprises reacting acrolein with a primary aliphatic amine in the presence oil a catalyst consisting essentially of boron phosphate .at a temperature of from about 200 C. to about 500 C. C. with a throughput rate of from about 25 to about 150 mols of reactants per liter of catalyst per hour. 5. A process for the production of mono-alkyl pyridine which comprises reacting a straight chain alpha,beta-unsaturated aliphatic aldehyde with ammonia in the presence of a molar excess of ammonia and a catalyst consisting essentially of boron phosphate at a temperature of from about 200 C. to about 500 C. with a throughput rate of from about 25 to about 150 mols of reactants per liter of catalyst per hour. 6. A process for the production of alkyl pyridine which comprises reacting a straight chain alpha,beta-unsaturated aliphatic aldehyde with ammonia in the presence of a catalyst consisting essentially of boron phosphate at a temperature of from about 200 C. to about 500 C. with a throughput rate of from about 25 to about mols of reactants per liter of catalyst per hour. 7. Aprocess for the production of alkyl pyridine which comprises reacting a straight chain alpha,beta-unsaturated aliphatic aldehyde with a primary aliphatic amine in the presence of a catalyst consisting essentially of boron phosphate at a temperature of from about 200 C. to about 500 C. with a throughput rate of from about 25 to about 75 mols of reactants per liter of catalyst per hour. I 8. A process for the production of alkyl pyridine which comprises reacting a straight chain alpha-beta-unsaturated aliphatic aldehyde with a member of the group consisting of ammonia and aliphatic primary amines in the presence of a catalyst consisting-of boron phosphate at a temperature of from about 200 C. to about 500 C. with a throughput rate of from about 25 to about mols oi reactants per liter of catalyst per hour. GEORGE W. HEARNE. VERNON W. BULS. REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the tile 01 this patent: FOREIGN PATENTS Country Date Great Britain 1929 Number with a throughput rate of from about 25 to about 60 July 13, 1943. I

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    Publication numberPublication dateAssigneeTitle
    GB-332623-AJuly 22, 1930Ig Farbenindustrie AgImprovements in the manufacture and production of condensation products containing nitrogen

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Cited By (7)

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    US-2703804-AMarch 08, 1955Phillips Petroleum CoProduction of substituted pyridines
    US-2742474-AApril 17, 1956Phillips Petroleum CoProduction of substituted pyridines
    US-2745833-AMay 15, 1956Phillips Petroleum CoProduction of substituted pyridiens
    US-2775596-ADecember 25, 1956Phillips Petroleum CoProduction of substituted pyridines
    US-2854457-ASeptember 30, 1958Reilly Tar & Chem CorpProcess of preparing dipyridyls
    US-2877228-AMarch 10, 1959Phillips Petroleum CoProduction of substituted pyridines
    US-2894953-AJuly 14, 1959Sankyo CoProcess for the production of pyridine derivative