V. Van Speybroeck

The effect of confined space on the growth of naphthalenic species in an H-SSZ-13 catalyst: a molecular modeling study

K. Hemelsoet, A. Nollet, M. Vandichel, D. Lesthaeghe, V. Van Speybroeck, M. Waroquier
ChemCatChem
1 (3), 373-378
2009
A1

Abstract 

Methylation reactions of naphthalenic species over the acidic microporous zeolite with chabazite topology have been investigated by means of two-layered ab initio computations. Large cluster results combined with van der Waals contributions provide thermodynamic and kinetic results of successive methylation steps. The growth of fused bicyclic species is important as these can act as hydrocarbon pool species within the methanol-to-olefin (MTO) process, but ultimately leads to the deactivation of the catalyst. The influence of the confined space of the zeolite pore on the resulting transition state or product shape selectivity is investigated in detail.

A coordinative saturated vanadium containing metal organic framework that shows a remarkable catalytic activity

K. Leus, I. Muylaert, V. Van Speybroeck, G.B. Marin, P. Van der Voort
Studies in Surface Science and Catalysis
175, 329-332
2010
P1

Abstract 

A completely saturated Metal Organic Framework, MIL-47 was synthesized and tested for its catalytic performance in the oxidation of cyclohexene with tert-butyl hydroperoxide as oxidant. The catalyst was compared to several reference catalysts: namely VAPO-5, supported VOx/SiO2 and the homogeneous catalyst VO(acac)2. MIL-47 shows a remarkable catalytic activity and preserves its crystalline structure and surface area after a catalytic run. Furthermore MIL-47 exhibits a very high activity in successive runs.

Mechanistic Studies on Chabazite-Type Methanol-to-Olefin Catalysts: Insights from Time-Resolved UV/Vis Microspectroscopy Combined with Theoretical Simulations

V. Van Speybroeck, K. Hemelsoet, K. De Wispelaere, Q. Qian, J. Van der Mynsbrugge, B. De Sterck, B.M. Weckhuysen, M. Waroquier
ChemCatChem
5 (1), 173-184
2013
A1

Abstract 

The formation and nature of active sites for methanol conversion over solid acid catalyst materials are studied by using a unique combined spectroscopic and theoretical approach. A working catalyst for the methanol-to-olefin conversion has a hybrid organic–inorganic nature in which a cocatalytic organic species is trapped in zeolite pores. As a case study, microporous materials with the chabazite topology, namely, H-SAPO-34 and H-SSZ-13, are considered with trapped (poly)aromatic species. First-principle rate calculations on methylation reactions and in situ UV/Vis spectroscopy measurements are performed. The theoretical results show that the structure of the organic compound and zeolite composition determine the methylation rates: 1) the rate increases by 6 orders of magnitude if more methyl groups are added on benzenic species, 2) transition state selectivity occurs for organic species with more than one aromatic core and bearing more than three methyl groups, 3) methylation rates for H-SSZ-13 are approximately 3 orders of magnitude higher than on H-SAPO-34 owing to its higher acidity. The formation of (poly)aromatic cationic compounds can be followed by using in situ UV/Vis spectroscopy because these species yield characteristic absorption bands in the visible region of the spectrum. We have monitored the growth of characteristic peaks and derived activation energies of formation for various sets of (poly)aromatic compounds trapped in the zeolite host. The formation–activation barriers deduced by using UV/Vis microspectroscopy correlate well with the activation energies for the methylation of the benzenic species and the lower methylated naphthalenic species. This study shows that a fundamental insight at the molecular level can be obtained by using a combined in situ spectroscopic and theoretical approach for a complex catalyst of industrial relevance.

Scope and Mechanism of the (4+3) Cycloaddition Reaction of Furfuryl Cations

J.M. Winne, S. Catak, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Angewandte Chemie int. Ed.
50 (50) 11990–11993
2011
A1

Abstract 

Furfuryl alcohols are revealed as direct reaction partners for a wide range of conjugated dienes in a (4+3) cycloaddition motif (see scheme). This novel Lewis-acid-promoted process gives straightforward access to various polycyclic skeletons containing a seven-membered ring. A plausible cationic stepwise mechanism was confirmed by DFT calculations.

Electronic effects of linker substitution on Lewis acid catalysis with Metal-organic frameworks

F. Vermoortele, M. Vandichel, B. Van de Voorde, R. Ameloot, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck, D. De Vos
Angewandte Chemie int. Ed.
51(20), 4887-4890
2012
A1

Abstract 

Functionalized linkers can greatly increase the activity of metal–organic framework (MOF) catalysts with coordinatively unsaturated sites. A clear linear free-energy relationship (LFER) was found between Hammett σm values of the linker substituents X and the rate kX of a carbonyl-ene reaction. This is the first LFER ever observed for MOF catalysts. A 56-fold increase in rate was found when the substituent is a nitro group.

Investigating the Halochromic Properties of Azo Dyes in an Aqueous Environment by Using a Combined Experimental and Theoretical Approach

T. De Meyer, K. Hemelsoet, L. Van der Schueren, E. Pauwels, K. De Clerck, V. Van Speybroeck
Chemistry - A European Journal
18 (26), 8120-8129
2012
A1

Abstract 

The halochromism in solution of a prototypical example of an azo dye, ethyl orange, was investigated by using a combined theoretical and experimental approach. Experimental UV/Vis and Raman spectroscopy pointed towards a structural change of the azo dye with changing pH value (in the range pH 5–3). The pH-sensitive behavior was modeled through a series of ab initio computations on the neutral and various singly and doubly protonated structures. For this purpose, contemporary DFT functionals (B3LYP, CAM-B3LYP, and M06) were used in combination with implicit modeling of the water solvent environment. Static calculations were successful in assigning the most-probable protonation site. However, to fully understand the origin of the main absorption peaks, a molecular dynamics simulation study in a water molecular environment was used in combination with time-dependent DFT (TD-DFT) calculations to deduce average UV/Vis spectra that take into account the flexibility of the dye and the explicit interactions with the surrounding water molecules. This procedure allowed us to achieve a remarkable agreement between the theoretical and experimental UV/Vis spectrum and enabled us to fully unravel the pH-sensitive behavior of ethyl orange in aqueous environment.

Crystal structure prediction for iron as inner core material in heavy terrestrial planets

S. Cottenier, M.I.J. Probert, T. Van Hoolst, V. Van Speybroeck, M. Waroquier
Earth and Planetary Science Letters
312, 237–242
2011
A1

Abstract 

The relative stability of different crystal structures for pure Fe under applied pressure is calculated from quantum mechanics, using the highly accurate APW+lo method. In the pressure range of 0–100 TPa, we corroborate the prediction that iron adopts subsequently the bcc, hcp, fcc, hcp and bcc structures. In contrast to previous studies, we identify a family of stacking fault structures that are competing with the ground state structure at all pressures. Implications for the properties of the inner core of the Earth and heavy terrestrial exoplanets are discussed.

Solvent-Catalyzed Ring-Chain-Ring Tautomerization in Axially Chiral Compounds

A. Yıldırım, A. Konuklar, S. Catak, V. Van Speybroeck, M. Waroquier, I. Doğan, V. Aviyente
Chemistry - A European Journal
18 (40), 12725-12732
2012
A1

Abstract 

The mechanism of ring–chain–ring tautomerization and the prominent effect of the solvent environment have been computationally investigated in an effort to explain the enantiomeric interconversion observed in 2-oxazolidinone derivatives, heterocyclic analogues of biphenyl atropisomers, which were isolated as single stable enantiomers and have the potential to be used as axially chiral catalysts. This study has shed light on the identity of the intermediate species involved in the ring–chain–ring tautomerization process as well as the catalytic effect of polar protic solvents. These mechanistic details will prove very useful in predicting and understanding ring–chain tautomeric equilibria in similar heterocyclic systems and will further enable experimentalists to devise appropriate experimental conditions in which axially chiral catalysts remain stable as single enantiomers.

Computation of charge distribution and electrostatic potential in silicates with the use of chemical potential equalization models

T. Verstraelen, S.V. Sukhomlinov, V. Van Speybroeck, M. Waroquier, K. Smirnov
Journal of Physical Chemistry C
116 (1), 490–504
2012
A1

Abstract 

New parameters for the electronegativity equalization model (EEM) and the split-charge equilibration (SQE) model are calibrated for silicate materials, based on an extensive training set of representative isolated systems. In total, four calibrations are carried out, two for each model, either using iterative Hirshfeld (HI) charges or ESP grid data computed with Density Functional Theory (DFT) as a reference. Both the static (ground state) reference quantities and their responses to uniform electric fields are included in the fitting procedure. The EEM model fails to describe the response data, while the SQE model quantitatively reproduces all the training data. For the ESP-based parameters, we found that the reference ESP data are only useful at those grid points where the electron density is lower than 10-3 a.u. The density value correlates with a distance criterion used for selecting grid points in common ESP fitting schemes. All parameters are validated with DFT computations on an independent set of isolated systems (similar to the training set), and on a set of periodic systems including dense and microporous crystalline silica structures, zirconia, and zirconium silicate. Although the transferability of the parameters to new isolated systems poses no difficulties, the atomic hardness parameters in the HI-based models must be corrected to obtain accurate results for periodic systems. The SQE/ESP model permits the calculation of the ESP with similar accuracy in both isolated and periodic systems.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Competitive Reactions of Organophosphorus Radicals on Coke Surfaces

S. Catak, K. Hemelsoet, L. Hermosilla, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Chemistry - A European Journal
17 (43), 12027–12036
2011
A1

Abstract 

The efficacy of organophosphorus radicals as anticoking agents was subjected to a computational study in which a representative set of radicals derived from industrially relevant organophosphorus additives was used to explore competitive reaction pathways on the graphene-like coke surface formed during thermal cracking. The aim was to investigate the nature of the competing reactions of different organophosphorus radicals on coke surfaces, and elucidate their mode of attack and inhibiting effect on the forming coke layer by use of contemporary computational methods. Density functional calculations on benzene and a larger polyaromatic hydrocarbon, namely, ovalene, showed that organophosphorus radicals have a high propensity to add to the periphery of the coke surface, inhibiting methyl radical induced hydrogen abstraction, which is known to be a key step in coke growth. Low addition barriers reported for a phosphatidyl radical suggest competitive aptitude against coke formation. Moreover, organophosphorus additives bearing aromatic substituents, which were shown to interact with the coke surface through dispersive π–π stacking interactions, are suggested to play a nontrivial role in hindering further stacking among coke surfaces. This may be the underlying rationale behind experimental observation of softer coke in the presence of organophosphorus radicals. The ultimate goal is to provide information that will be useful in building single-event microkinetic models. This study presents pertinent information on potential reactions that could be taken up in these models.

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