Surface science methods originating from analysis of noble metal catalysts are increasingly applied to metal oxides. These methods provide direct access to fundamental structural properties and phase equilibria governing the catalytic properties of metal oxide surfaces. However, no systematic way existed so far for transferring this knowledge to technical catalysts. The aim of this paper is to combine surface science with chemical engineering methods to bridge this gap. Styrene synthesis over pure and K-doped iron oxides is used as an example to develop and to explain the methodology. Single crystal films (SCF), grown epitaxially on a Pt-carrier are considered as ideal model surfaces. Comprehensive UHV analyses yield the structural properties of SCF as well as their interaction with relevant components of the reaction mixture. Their results are combined with conversion experiments to derive a mechanistic catalyst model along with quantitative information on the reaction rates. The activity of SCF as well as their phase transitions under reactive conditions can be described with a continuum model depending on the macroscopic properties of the system. This model forms the crucial link towards technical catalysts. It is shown that the behaviour of a powder catalyst can be described as a superposition of the above kinetic model and an appropriate porous model. In this paper we review the developed methodology and conclude with the evaluation of the concept.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry