The formation of local high temperature regions, or so-called “hot spots”, in heterogeneous reaction systems has been suggested as a critical factor in the enhancement of chemical reactions using microwave heating. In this paper, we report the generation of local high temperature regions between catalyst particles under microwave heating. First, we demonstrated that reaction rate of the dehydrogenation of 2-propanol over a magnetite catalyst was enhanced 17- (250 °C) to 38- (200 °C) fold when heated with microwave irradiation rather than an electrical furnace. Subsequently, the existence of microwave-generated specific local heating was demonstrated using a coupled simulation of the electromagnetic fields and heat transfer as well as in situ emission spectroscopy. Specific high-temperature regions were generated at the vicinal contact points of the catalyst particles due to the concentrated microwave electric field. We also directly observed local high temperature regions at the contact points of the particles during microwave heating of a model silicon carbide spherical material using in situ emission spectroscopy. We conclude that the generation of local heating at the contact points between the catalyst particles is a key factor for enhancing fixed-bed flow reactions under microwave irradiation.
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