Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Thomas Houser

Second Advisor

Dr. Donald Berndt

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald Schreiber

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The goals of this study are the removal of nitrogen from the extraction products of coal by Supercritical Water and the development of an understanding of the reactions leading to this removal. Six model compounds with structures similar to the intermediates of the coal liquefaction processes were studied. Benzylamine generated toluene through hydrogen abstraction after the C-N bond rupture. To a lesser extent, the oxidation of the benzylic carbon took place leading to benzene formation. Both reaction pathways occurred with equal probability for benzylidenebenzylamine, producing comparable yields of benzene and toluene. Benzaldehyde generated benzene through the oxidation/decarboxylation sequence. Benzyl alcohol formed toluene as the major product while benzoic acid produced benzene. The low yield of benzene in the bibenzyl study reveals that the C-N bond is essential for the oxidation of benzylic carbon. Kinetic data of the benzaldehyde-Supercritical Water reaction show a second order process with an inhibitation by the product.