Final Report: Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Surface Oxametallacycles - Connections to Heterogeneous Olefin Epoxidation [report]

Mark A Barteau
2009 unpublished
This project has aimed at the rational design of catalysts for direct epoxidation of olefins. This chemistry remains one of the most challenging problems in heterogeneous catalysis. Although the epoxidation of ethylene by silver catalysts to form ethylene oxide (EO) has been practiced for decades, little progress has been made in expanding this technology to other products and processes. We have made significant advances through the combination of surface science experiments, Density Functional
more » ... Theory (DFT) calculations, and catalytic reactor experiments, toward understanding the mechanism of this reaction on silver catalysts, and to the rational improvement of selectivity. The key has been our demonstration of surface oxametallacycle intermediates as the species that control reaction selectivity. This discovery permits the influence of catalyst promoters on selectivity to be probed, and new catalyst formulations to be developed. It also guides the development of new chemistry with potential for direct epoxidation of more complex olefins. During the award period we have focused on 1. the formation and reaction selectivity of complex olefin epoxides on silver surfaces, and 2. the influence of co-adsorbed oxygen atoms on the reactions of surface oxametallacycles on silver, and 3. the computational prediction, synthesis, characterization and experimental evaluation of bimetallic catalysts for ethylene epoxidation. The significance of these research thrusts is as follows. Selective epoxidation of olefins more complex than ethylene requires suppression of not only side reactions available to the olefin such as C-H bond breaking, but it requires formation and selective ring closure of the corresponding oxametallacycle intermediates. Invited Lectures
doi:10.2172/963967 fatcat:hd5dynwvhrfe7kkr5dlg725db4