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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3893

Title: A rational design approach to nanostructured catalysts for the oxidation of carbon monoxide
Authors: Karwacki, Christopher
Keywords: Materials science;Nanostructured materials;Nanotechnology
Issue Date: Jun-2011
Abstract: The extraordinary energetic properties of subnanometer (<10 nm) structures consisting of reduced metals, metal oxides, and graphitic carbons are emerging as the principal technologies involving catalytic reactions at ambient temperatures, for such applications as respiratory protection, pollution abatement, chemical synthesis, sensors, and energy conversion. Gold nanoparticles (Au NP) possess unique reactive properties not present in the bulk state and have served in the past decade as a model for the nanosciences, where molecular species are synthesized, scaled, and engineered into functional materials. Gold nanoparticles as isolated structures are not useful as real catalysts and must co-exist with supports that provide enhanced stability and activity. Support oxides such as TiO2, Fe2O3, CeO2, SiO2, Al2O3, ZrO2, and graphitic (active) carbons have been shown to increase the active nature of AuNP and have been the subject of several thousand publications in the past decade. Zirconia compared to titania as a support for Au NP catalysis has been studied with limited success. In fact, the majority of observations show that zirconia is one of the lowest performing metal oxide supports involving Au NP oxidation catalysis. The likely reason for these observations is a lack of understanding of the relationship between structure and surface functionality as it pertains to ambient temperature oxidation catalysis (ATOC). Furthermore, virtually all substrate and catalyst preparations in earlier work were performed at high temperatures, typically 400–900 °C, thus forming progressively monomorphic structures containing larger crystals with reduced surface functionality and porosity. In this research, I established the hypothesis based on a structural model that surface functional hydroxides are important to sustained hydrolytic reactions, such as those involving Au NP for the oxidation of CO to CO2. Theoretical calculations by Ignatchenko, Vittadini, et al. show that zirconia readily dissociates adsorbed water on the most active and stable crystal structures (111) compared to other metal oxides, such as the common anatase (101) form of titania. Also, the support must provide a source of activated oxygen as a means to oxidize intermediate carbonates with CO2 formation. The role of the support is to provide lattice oxygen in an activated state (O2-) for oxidation of adsorbed CO the Au NP:support interface. Furthermore, the primary interest is the energy associated Au NP in proximity to the support surface. Advancing the understanding of this region is believed to be crucial to the future design of active nanostructured materials that function under ambient conditions. The proposed model involves a structure consisting of properly sized and highly dispersed Au NP supported on a hydroxylated form of nanocrystalline zirconia. This type of zirconia is in a highly polymorphic form consisting of aggregates of small crystals less than 10 nm. The structure is highly porous, containing undercoordinated zirconium atoms, and provides an environment for rapid dissociation of molecular water. In this research and in collaboration with Mogilevsky et al.,37 I introduce a novel method for quantifying the surface concentration of two major forms of hydroxide that form on zirconia. Furthermore, in this research I show how both the porosity of the zirconia support and the size of the crystalline aggregates affect the type and surface concentration of hydroxyl groups. This relationship is thus directly related to the oxidation activity of the catalyst consisting of Au NP supported on hydroxylated ZrO2. These phenomena are exemplified by a reduction in structural porosity and surface hydroxyl groups with increasing temperature treatments of the zirconia support. Gold NP and ZrO2 supports were extended to studies that included interactions with activated carbons. This work was done on the premise that graphitic carbons, based on their tunable porosities and surface chemistries, can enhance or stabilize the catalytic activity of neighboring Au NP. Gold dispersed on active carbon and hybrid structures consisting of Au/ZrO2/C shows interesting properties, which lend themselves to catalytic particle stabilization and to the advancement of multifunctional material design.
Description: Thesis (M.S., Materials engineering)--Drexel University, 2011.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3893
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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