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Title: Applications of multinuclear solid-state NMR spectroscopy to the characterisation of industrial catalysts
Author: Rankin, Andrew Gordon McLaughlin
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 8732
Awarding Body: University of St Andrews
Current Institution: University of St Andrews
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis describes applications of advanced multinuclear solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments to the characterisation of industrially-relevant catalyst materials. Experiments on γ-Al₂O₃ introduce the use of solid-state NMR spectroscopy for the investigation of disordered solids. The existence of Al(V) sites on the surface of this material is demonstrated, showing that removal of adsorbed H₂O may facilitate a rearrangement effect in γ-Al₂O₃ that promotes the formation of these Al environments. A range of aluminium oxide-based supported metal catalysts has been investigated. Studies of these systems by ¹H and ²⁷Al solid-state NMR spectroscopy indicate that a metal-support interaction (MSI) exists between surface cobalt oxide crystallites and the γ-Al₂O₃ support, and is strongest for materials containing small, well dispersed Co oxide crystallites. It is shown that the hygroscopic nature of γ-Al₂O₃ allows the extent of the MSI to be visualised by ¹H MAS NMR, by observing the extent of the proton-metal oxide interaction resulting from the presence of adventitious adsorbed H₂O. The surface/bulk chemistry of Co spinel aluminate materials is also investigated. ¹H, ²⁹Si, ²⁷Al and ¹⁷O solid-state NMR techniques are used to gain insight into the structural nature of silicated alumina catalysts. The combination of isotopic enrichment and dynamic nuclear polarisation (DNP) surface-enhanced NMR spectroscopy can provide a definitive and fully quantitative description of the surface structure of Si-γ-Al₂O₃ (1.5 wt% Si), and the role of adventitious surface water is highlighted. Analysis of silicated aluminas prepared by “sequential grafting” and “single shot” approaches shows that silica growth on γ-Al₂O₃ follows two distinct morphologies. ¹⁷O gas exchange enrichment is also shown to be successful in facilitating ¹⁷O solid-state NMR studies of these materials. It is demonstrated that double (²⁹Si and ¹⁷O) enrichment of Si-γ-Al₂O₃ (1.5 wt% Si) can facilitate access to ²⁹Si-¹⁷O 2D correlation experiments, even at low silica loading. An exploratory investigation of Ti-alumina model catalysts has also been carried out using ¹H, ²⁷Al and ¹⁷O solid-state NMR spectroscopy. These studies indicate that Ti-γ-Al₂O₃ and Ti-Al M50 may be structurally distinct materials.
Supervisor: Ashbrook, Sharon E. Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) ; Sasol Technology UK
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Spectroscopy ; Catalysts ; Industrial ; Isotopic enrichment ; DNP ; Gamma-alumina ; Paramagnetic ; Cobalt oxide ; Silicated alumina ; Silica ; Solid-state NMR ; Metal-support interaction ; Ti-alumina ; Adventitious water ; QD96.N8R2 ; Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy ; Catalysts--Analysis