Adams' Catalyst - Preparation


Adams' catalyst is prepared from chloroplatinic acid H2PtCl6 or ammonium chloroplatinate, (NH4)2PtCl6, by fusion with sodium nitrate. The first published preparation was reported by V. Voorhees and Roger Adams. The procedure involves first preparing a platinum nitrate which is then heated to expel nitrogen oxides.

H2PtCl6 + 6 NaNO3 → Pt(NO3)4 + 6 NaCl (aq) + 2 HNO3
Pt(NO3)4 → PtO2 + 4 NO2 + O2

The resulting brown cake is washed with water to free it from nitrates. The catalyst can either be used as is or dried and stored in a desiccator for later use. Platinum can be recovered from spent catalyst by conversion to ammonium chloroplatinate using aqua regia followed by ammonia.

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