How zeolitic acid strength and composition alter the reactivity of alkenes and aromatics towards methanol Dedicated to the memory of Haldor Topsøe.

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Abstract

This work encompasses a combined experimental and theoretical assessment of how zeolitic acid strength and composition affects acid-catalysed methylation reactions. Overall, higher methylation rates were observed over the material with higher acid strength. Co-reactions of methanol with benzene at 250°C over the two isostructural AFI materials H-SSZ-24 and H-SAPO-5 revealed large differences in selectivity. While the stronger acidic H-SSZ-24 mainly produced toluene and polymethylbenzenes, high yields of C<inf>4+</inf> aliphatics were observed over H-SAPO-5. These results strongly suggest that alkene methylation was preferred over H-SAPO-5 even at very low conversion during methanol/benzene co-reactions. Furthermore, a comparison of benzene and propene methylation at 350-400°C revealed a significantly faster rate of benzene than propene methylation in H-SSZ-24, whereas the rates of benzene and propene methylation were similar in H-SAPO-5. The observed difference in reactivity of the two hydrocarbons in both catalysts could be understood by careful analysis of various molecular dynamics simulations of the co-adsorbed complexes. The probability to form protonated methanol was, as expected, higher in the more acidic material. However, in H-SSZ-24, the probability for methanol protonation was higher when co-adsorbed with benzene than when co-adsorbed with propene, while the same was not observed in H-SAPO-5. Furthermore, it was found that benzene and methanol are more likely to form a reactive co-adsorbed complex in H-SSZ-24 compared to propene and methanol, while the opposite was observed for H-SAPO-5. This work shows that molecular dynamics simulations provide insights into the adsorption behaviour of guest molecules in large pore AFI materials. The obtained insights correlate with the experimentally observed reactivities.

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Westgård Erichsen, M., De Wispelaere, K., Hemelsoet, K., Moors, S. L. C., Deconinck, T., Waroquier, M., … Olsbye, U. (2015). How zeolitic acid strength and composition alter the reactivity of alkenes and aromatics towards methanol Dedicated to the memory of Haldor Topsøe. Journal of Catalysis, 328, 186–196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcat.2015.01.013

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