Scaling relations for acidity and reactivity of zeolites

C. Liu, Ionut C. Tranca, R.A. van Santen, E.J.M. Hensen, E.A. Pidko

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Zeolites are widely applied as solid acid catalysts in various technological processes. In this work we have computationally investigated how catalytic reactivity scales with acidity for a range of zeolites with different topology and chemical composition. We found that straightforward correlations are limited to zeolites with same topology. The adsorption energies of bases such as carbon monoxide (CO), acetonitrile (CH3CN), ammonia (NH3), trimethylamine (N(CH3)3), and pyridine (C5H5N) give same acidity trend for FAU zeolites with varying composition. Crystal orbital Hamilton populations (COHP) analysis provides a detailed molecular orbital picture of adsorbed base molecules on the Brønsted acid sites (BAS). Bonding is dominated by strong σ donation from guest molecules to the BAS for the adsorbed CO and CH3CN complexes. The bond order parameters derived for the CH3CN adsorption complex is a useful acidity descriptor for the intrinsic acid strength of FAU zeolites. For FAU zeolites the activation energy for the conversion of π-adsorbed isobutene into alkoxy species correlates well with the acidity determined by the NH3 adsorption energies. Other zeolites such as MFI and CHA do not follow the scaling relations obtained for FAU, which we ascribe due to the different dispersion and steric effects induced by zeolite framework topology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23520–23530
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2017


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