Rate of transesterification of dimethyl terephthalate with ethylene glycol

  The transesterification of dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) with ethylene glycol (EG) was kinetically investigated in the presence of various catalysts at 197°C. The reaction was followed by the measurement of the quantity of methanol which distilled from the reaction vessel.  This distillation made corrections of reactant and catalyst concentrations necessary. The transesterification was assumed to obey first-order kinetics with respect to DMT and EG, and a rate equation was derived. The reaction was found to be first order in catalyst concentration as well and when this finding was incorporated in the rate equation, excellent agreement between the observed and calculated values was recognized throughout the reaction.  The first-order dependence on the catalyst concentration is valid below a critical concentration which was found to be dependent on the catalyst type. Above this concentration a lower reaction order was observed.