Single and Multiple Heteroatom Incorporation in MFI Zeolites
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Zeolites are crystalline inorganic solids that are industrially used for adsorption, ion exchange and catalysis. As catalysts, they have been particularly successful in the hydrocarbon processing industry due to their unique activities and selectivities. Zeolites are mainly used in acid catalyzed reactions, but their catalytic functionality can be diversified through the incorporation of elements that are traditionally not part of their framework. The incorporation of various elements has been studied in recent decades resulting in zeolites with potential to perform different chemistries or improve catalytic performance in existing ones. However, many of these investigations have been conducted under conditions that do not necessarily represent realistic scenarios for industrial implementation. The main objective of this dissertation was to study the single and simultaneous framework incorporation of tin, boron, germanium and aluminum in MFI zeolites under synthesis conditions that are more in line with industrial preparations. These include the use of mixtures in alkaline media with high concentration of precursor species. The interest on tin resides on its potential for Lewis acid catalysis, while boron and germanium have potential for modulating acid strength and enhancing catalytic properties respectively. Three specific systems were studied: MFI zeolites with simultaneous incorporation of germanium and aluminum (i.e. Ge-Al-MFI zeolites), MFI zeolites with simultaneous incorporation of germanium and boron (i.e. B-Ge-MFI zeolites), and MFI zeolites with single incorporation of tin (i.e. Sn-MFI zeolites). Systematic synthesis experiments were coupled with extensive analytical characterization in order to assess how element incorporation and zeolite physicochemical properties are affected by synthesis conditions. In addition, the catalytic activity of Sn-MFI zeolites for the hydroxylation of phenol was studied. The general conclusion from this work is that framework incorporation of these elements is highly influenced by pH, mixture composition and the presence of sodium cations. Sodium cations are commonly included in industrial preparations through the use of sodium hydroxide, but they were found to negatively affect framework incorporation due to a tendency to form stable extra-framework impurities with the heteroatoms, especially germanium and tin. pH and mixture composition are particularly influential in controlling germanium and boron incorporation, while the incorporation of tin, its coordination environment and catalytic performance were found to depend on synthesis conditions as well as post-synthesis treatments.
Garcia Vargas, Nataly (2012). Single and Multiple Heteroatom Incorporation in MFI Zeolites. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from