Density functional theory (DFT) was used to elucidate the mechanism of n-butane hydrogenolysis (into propane, ethane, and methane) on well-defined zirconium hydrides supported on SBA15 coordinated to the surface via N-donor surface pincer ligands: [(≡SiNH-)(≡SiO-)ZrH2] (A), [(≡SiNH-)2ZrH2] (B), [(≡SiNH-)(≡SiO-) 2ZrH] (C), [(≡SiNH-)2(≡SiO-)ZrH] (D), [(≡SiN=)(≡Si-O-)ZrH] (E), and [(≡SiN=)(≡SiNH-)ZrH] (F). The roles of these hydrides have been investigated in C-H/C-C bond activation and cleavage. The dihydride A linked via a chelating [N,O] surface ligand was found to be more active than B, linked to the chelating [N,N] surface ligand. Moreover, the dihydride zirconium complexes are also more active than their corresponding monohydrides C-F. The C-C cleavage step occurs preferentially via β-alkyl transfer, which is the rate-limiting step in the alkane hydrogenolysis. The energetics of the comparative pathways over the potential energy surface diagram (PES) reveals the hydrogenolysis of n-butane into propane and ethane. © 2014 American Chemical Society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry