, Volume 32, Issue 11, pp 1189-1192

Electrolytic synthesis of succinic acid in a flow reactor with solid polymer electrolyte membrane

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This paper describes the galvanostatic synthesis of succinic acid from maleic acid in an ion exchange membrane flow cell. The electrolysis was carried out at stainless steel, lead and copper cathodes under variable conditions of current density and substrate concentration. Depending upon the experimental conditions, the yield of succinic acid varied from 95 and 99% with a coulombic efficiency of 80–99%. The product was characterized by various physicochemical techniques, viz. 1H-NMR, IR and UV–Visible spectroscopy and elemental analysis. The operational conditions giving maximum yield of product were identified. The mechanism of electrochemical reduction of maleic acid and advantages of using a catholyte without supporting electrolyte are discussed.