Paul Sabatier discovered hydrogenation catalysts

Paul Sabatier – discoverer of hydrogenation of catalysts

Paul Sabatier

Biography & contributions

Paul Sabatier's era is from November,05,1854 to August,14,1941. Paul Sabatier was a French organic chemist.Sabatier was one of the Nobel laureate at time time of 1912 in the field of chemistry. He got Nobel prize along with Victor Grignard for discovering Grignard reagent. Paul Sabatier also discovered the use of nickel as a hydrogenation catalyst.

Paul Sabatier was awarded with several medals like Davy medal in the year of 1915, Royal medal in the year of 1918, Franklin medal from Franklin institute in the year of 1933 and finally most prestagious Nobel prize in the year of 1912.

 Other notable works of sabatier as follows

  • Research works on thermochemistry of sulfur
  • Research works on thermochemistry of metallic sulfates
  • Physico-chemical studies on sulphides
  • Pysico-chemical studies on chlorides
  • Physico-chemical studies on chromates and copper compounds.
  • Conducted number of studies on oxides of nitrogen and nitroso disulphonic acid.

Sabatier pointed out anomalies in faraday's physical theory and postulated chemical theory of formation of unstable intermediaries.Sabatier also done various discoveries and investigations like

  • Bases of the margarineoil hydrogenation
  • investigated hydrogenation reactions
  • investigated dehydrogenation reactions

He was also proposed the sabatier principle - which explains chemical interactions between catalyst and substrate in a catalytic 

Sabatier principle

Sabatier principle explains interactions between the catalyst and the substrate.Sabatier principle proposes the existence of an unstable intermediate compound formed between the catalyst surface and at least one of the reactants. This intermediate must be stable enough to decompose to yield the final product or products.


It is just a chemical reaction between molecular hydrogen (H2) and another compound or element, usually in the clear presence of a catalyst. The process is commonly employed to cut back or saturate organic compounds. Hydrogenation typically constitutes the addition of pairs of hydrogen atoms to a molecule, generally an alkene. Hydrogenation reduces double and triple bonds in hydrocarbons.

Heterogeneous catalysts for hydrogenation tend to be common industrially. Hydrogenation is a useful reaction for converting more oxidized oxygen and nitrogen compounds such as aldehydes, imines and nitriles into the corresponding saturated compounds, i.e. alcohols and amines. Hydrogenation converts liquid vegetable oils into solid or semi-solid fats, such as those present in margarine.

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