Nitrogen oxides, NOx, are formed in combustion engines. They contribute to acid rain and the formation of ozone and are hazardous for men and environment. In this article, a process was investigated that can 'capture' the NOx from the exhaust gases using heteropoly acids and can later release them for processing. One of the main conclusions is that the mobility of the captured and released molecules is the key to control the reaction. This can now be used to optimize and commercialize the technology.
Stikstofoxiden, aangeduid als NOx, worden gevormd in verbrandingsmotoren. Ze dragen bij tot zure regen, de vorming van ozon en zijn dus schadelijk voor mens en milieu. In dit artikel werd een proces onderzocht dat de NOx kan ‘vangen’ uit de uitlaatgassen aan de hand van heteropolyzuren en later terug kan vrijgeven voor verdere verwerking. Een van de belangrijkste vaststellingen is dat de mobiliteit van de opgeslagen en vrijgegeven moleculen de sleutel is voor het controleren van het proces. De conclusies van het onderzoek kunnen nu verder gebruikt worden voor de optimalisering en commercialisering van het proces.
NOx adsorption on Phosphotungstic acid is entropy-driven due to the watermolecules that are released.
Silicalite-1 zeolite exhibits a characteristic pentasil framework vibration around 540−550 cm−1. In the initial stages of zeolite synthesis, however, this band is observed at much higher wavenumbers: literature shows this vibration to depend on particle size and to shift over 100 cm−1 with increasing condensation. In this work, the pentasil vibration frequency was derived from theoretical molecular dynamics simulations to obtain the correct IR band assignments for important nanoparticles. The IR spectroscopic fingerprint of oligomeric five-ring containing precursors proposed in the literature was computed and compared with experimental data. Our theoretical results show that, while isolated five-membered rings show characteristic vibrational bands around 650 cm−1, the combination of five-membered rings in the full MFI-type structure readily generates the bathochromic shift to the typical pentasil vibration around 550 cm−1. As opposed to what was previously believed, the IR band does not shift gradually as nanoparticle size increases, but it is highly dependent on the specific way structural units are added. The most important feature is the appearance of an additional band when double five-membered rings are included, which allows for a clear distinction between the key stages of early zeolite nucleation. Furthermore, the combination of the simulated spectra with the experimental observation of this spectral feature in nanoparticles extracted from silicalite-1 clear solutions supports their structured nature. The theoretical insights on the dependency of pentasil vibrations with the degree of condensation offer valuable support toward future investigations on the genesis of a zeolite crystal.
The initial molecular steps of the acid-catalyzed silica sol−gel process de-parting from tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) were investigated by in situ 29Si NMR and UV−Raman spectroscopy. The use of a substoichiometric H2O:TEOS molar ratio (r-value 0.2−1.2) slowed the silicate oligomerization reaction and allowed unraveling the initial steps of silica condensation. Molecular modeling confirmed Raman signal and 29Si NMR shift assignment. A comprehensive listing of all Raman and 29Si NMR assignments is provided, including unique Raman assignments of cyclosilicates and the linear tetramer. The combination of experiment and modeling allowed an analysis of the reaction kinetics. The derived kinetic model and the experimental observation both revealed that the H2O:TEOS molar ratio had a strong influence on the reaction kinetics but not on the reaction pathways. The multianalytical approach led to development of an oligomerization scheme. As dominant oligomerizations, chain growth, cyclodimerization, and branching were identified. Under the investigated conditions, chains did not grow longer than pentamer, and ring sizes were limited to 6-rings. Chains of 4 Si atoms and 4-rings were abundant species. Branched rings and chains were formed by attachment of dimers and trimers. Gelation proceeded from branched 4-rings and branched chains with limited hydroxyl functionalities.
An efficient protocol is presented to identify signals in vibrational spectra of silica oligomers based on theoretical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The method is based on the projection of the atomic velocity vectors on the tangential directions of the trajectories belonging to a predefined set of internal coordinates. In this way only contributions of atomic motions along these internal coordinates are taken into consideration. The new methodology is applied to the spectra of oligomers and rings, which play an important role in zeolite synthesis. A suitable selection of the relevant internal coordinates makes the protocol very efficient but relies on intuition and theoretical insight. The simulation data necessary to compute vibrational spectra of relevant silica species are obtained through MD using proper force fields. The new methodology—the so-called velocity projection method—makes a detailed analysis of vibrational spectra possible by establishing a one-to-one correspondence between a spectral signal and a proper internal coordinate. It offers valuable perspectives in understanding the elementary steps in silica organization during zeolite nanogrowth. The so-called velocity projection method is generally applicable on data obtained from all types of MD and is a highly valuable alternative to normal-mode analysis which has its limitations due to the presence of many local minima on the potential energy surface. In this work the method is exclusively applied to inelastic neutron scattering, but extension to the infrared power spectrum is apparent.
Zeogrids and Zeotiles are hierarchical materials built from assembled MFI zeolite precursor units. Permanent secondary porosity in these materials is obtained through self assembly of nanoparticles encountered in MFI zeolite synthesis in the presence of supramolecular templates. Hereon, the aggregated species are termed nanoslabs. Zeogrids are layered materials with lateral spacings between nanoslabs creating galleries qualifying as supermicropores. Zeotiles present a diversity of tridimensional nanoslab assemblies with mesopores. Zeotile-1, -4 and -6 are hexagonal mesostructures. Zeotile-1 has triangular and hexagonal channels; Zeotile-4 has hexagonal channels interconnected via slits. Zeotile-2 has a cubic structure with gyroid type mesoporosity. The behavior of Zeogrids and Zeotiles in adsorption, membrane and chromatographic separation and catalysis has been characterized and compared with zeolites and mesoporous materials derived from unstructured silica sources. Shape selectivity was detected via adsorption of n- and iso-alkanes. The mesoporosity of Zeotiles can be exploited in chromatographic separation of biomolecules. Zeotiles present attractive separation properties relevant to CO2 sequestration. Because of its facile synthesis procedure without hydrothermal steps Zeogrid is convenient for membrane synthesis. The performance of Zeogrid membrane in gas separation, nanofiltration and pervaporation is reported. In the Beckmann rearrangement of cyclohexanone oxime Zeogrids and Zeotiles display a catalytic activity characteristic of silicalite-1 zeolites. Introduction of acidity and redox catalytic activity can be achieved via incorporation of Al and Ti atoms in the nanoslabs during synthesis. Zeogrids are active in hydrocracking, catalytic cracking, alkylation and epoxidation reactions. Zeogrids and Zeotiles often behave differently from ordered mesoporous materials as well as from zeolites and present a valuable extension of the family of hierarchical silicate based materials.
Tetramethylorthosilicate (TMOS) was hydrolyzed and polymerized under strongly acidic conditions in the presence of substoichiometric quantities of water. The polymerization reaction was monitored during 64 h using 29Si NMR and UV-Raman spectroscopy. The nature of the oligomers and the condensation reaction pathways were unraveled using this combination of experimental techniques together with molecular modeling. 29Si NMR and UV-Raman signals which previously were not documented in literature could be assigned. TMOS rapidly was converted into short straight methoxylated silicate chains. Subsequently the growth of oligomers proceeded by condensations between a hydrolyzed middle group of a chain with an end-group of another chain. Larger oligomers were attached to each other via condensations between middle groups generating multiply branched structures. Rings were formed late in the reaction scheme through internal condensations of sizable silicate molecules. Oligomers that were characteristic of the different stages of the polymerization process were proposed. Oligomerization pathways starting from tetramethylorthosilicate and tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) are significantly different. While with TMOS rings are formed only late in the oligomerization scheme, with TEOS rings are formed at early stages through cyclo-dimerization. This insight into the different nature of the oligomers obtained from TMOS and TEOS will assist the design of new silica sol–gel materials.