Vulcan: Catalyst Test System

Catalyst Test System


Vulcan is our catalyst test system, and is used to study the steam reforming of CH4 to form H2 for use in solid-oxide fuel cell systems.  We are now using Vulcan to study the sensitivity of various catalysts to S-bearing contaminants, which typically induce rapid and permanent de-activation.  In addition, we are exploring how these S-bearing adsorbates can protect the catalyst from carbon deposition and minimize carbon dioxide emissions. Vulcan can process up to 7 catalyst samples at a time, under identical temperature, gas composition, and processing conditions.  The catalyst samples (typically powders) are loaded into individual test-cells, which are inserted into the furnace system.  Computer-controlled gas mixtures are delivered to the cells, and passed through the catalyst powders.  The product gases are sampled by a capillary tube in each cell, and routed to a 1-of-10 selection valve.  The gas streams are sampled in a round-robin sequence, and fed into the mass spectrometer for on-line analysis.



  • 7 nearly simultaneous analysis systems
  • ambient to 950 oC sample temperatures
  • QMG-420 mass spectrometer detector
  • Turbomolecular pumped detector system
  • Computer controlled gas mixtures, calibration systems
  • Real-time presentation and monitoring of all product streams


Relevant Instrumentation (click on image to see apparatus)