The dehydrogenation of propane (C3H8) utilizing solid catalysts is expected to be a promising method for producing propene (C3H6) selectively and economically. Propene is useful as a raw material to produce other valuable materials. To push forward the dehydrogenation reaction of C3H8, it is essential to find catalysts that work effectively in the activation of the C-H bonds in C3H8. To this end, we investigated the interaction of C3H8 with the copper-ion-exchanged MFI-type zeolite (CuMFI) at room temperature. The C3H8 adsorption properties of CuMFI were remarkable, compared with those of the sodium-form MFI-type zeolite (NaMFI); CuMFI exhibited irreversible adsorption, even at room temperature, whereas NaMFI exhibited reversible adsorption. Correspondingly, the CuMFI had an adsorption energy of 110 kJ mol-1 in the initial adsorption region, whereas the NaMFI had an adsorption energy of 50 kJ mol-1. Furthermore, a peculiar feature was observed in the appearance of the characteristic infrared (IR) absorption bands at 2740, 2659, and 2624 cm-1 and, particularly, the band that appeared at 2555 cm-1. They were noticeably shifted toward the lower wavenumber side, compared with the C-H vibration bands for a gaseous C3H8 molecule. This was a result of the interaction of C3H8 with the Cu+ ions formed in CuMFI. The application of density functional theory calculations to the model, comprising the interaction between the dual-Cu+ site in CuMFI and C3H8, well explains the observation of the appearance of these four types of bands toward the lower wavenumber side and also the adsorption energy. The cause is the dominant contribution of the back-donation from Cu+ to C3H8, rather than the donation from C3H8 to Cu+, which results in a weakening of the C-H bonds in the C3H8 molecule. The Cu+ site taking a dimeric structure, not various types of single-Cu+ sites, plays a key role in activating C3H8 effectively, even at around 300 K. Results of this study should contribute to not only understanding the critical role of the dimeric Cu+ species in MFI but also developing new materials with superior activity in the activation of the C-H bond in alkanes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films