In literature, sometimes I see catalysts written with "-" between elements/compounds. Does this mean the first element/compound is supported on the second, or is the second a promoter? (e.g. $\ce{Fe}$-$\ce{KCl}$).

  • $\begingroup$ Can you give an example from literature? I only know it with a /. Pd/C is palladium on charcoal, Pd/MgO is palladium on MgO and so on. $\endgroup$
    – DSVA
    Apr 25, 2018 at 8:18

1 Answer 1


If we consider palladium on carbon or alumina then it means that the palladium particles are dispersed onto the carbon or alumina. The carbon or alumina acts as a support for the catayltic particles of the palladium.

If we consider Lindlar's cataylst this can be written as Pd/CaCO3/Pb

The Pd (palladium) is the hydrogenation cataylist The CaCO3 is the support The Pb is a poison which is used to modify the chemistry of the palladium

Sometimes one of the things separated by a / line is either a promotor or a poison.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Could you cite some nomenclature sources? That would make your answer much more complete. Thanks! $\endgroup$ May 1, 2018 at 7:55

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