Rapid microwave assisted sol-gel synthesis of CeO2 and CexSm1-xO2 nanoparticle catalysts for CO oxidation
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CeO2 and CexSm1-xO2 nanoparticle mixed oxides have been synthesized by microwave assisted sol-gel (MW sol-gel) and conventional sol-gel synthesis carried out at 60°C (typical sol-gel) and 100°C (approaching the MW temperature). Different characterization techniques, namely, XRD, BET, Raman, SEM, FTIR, TEM, XPS, H2-TPR, CO2-TPD, and XPS have been employed to understand the process-structure-properties relationship of the catalysts. The CO oxidation performance has been determined both in the absence and in the presence of H2 in the feed gas stream. Microwave heating yields a more thermally stable precursor material, which preserves 75% of its mass up to 600°C, attributable to the different chemical nature of the precursor, compared to the typical sol-gel material with the same composition. Varying the synthesis method has no profound effect on the surface area of the materials, which is in the range 4–35m2/g. Conventional sol-gel synthesis performed at 60 and 100°C yields CeO2 particles with a crystallite size of 29nm and 24nm compared to 21–27nm for MW sol-gel synthesis (at different power values). The MW sol-gel CexSm1-xO2 catalysts exhibit a smaller crystallite size (12–18nm). The pure ceria nanoparticles were shown to have a stoichiometry of approximately CeO1.95. The presence of Ce3+ and Sm3+ in the mixed oxide particles facilitates the presence of oxygen vacant sites, confirmed by Raman. Oxygen mobile species have been traced using H2-TPR studies and a compressive lattice strain in the 0.45–1.9% range of the cubic CexSm1-xO2 lattice were found to be strongly correlated with the CO oxidation performance in the presence and absence of H2 in the oxidation feed stream. MW sol-gel synthesis led to more active CeO2 and Ce0.5Sm0.5O2 catalysts, demonstrated by T50 (temperature where 50% CO conversion is achieved), being reduced by 131°C and 47°C, respectively, compared to typical sol-gel catalysts. Conventional synthesis performed at 100°C leads to a CeO2 catalyst of initially higher activity at a certain temperature window (220–420°C), though with a slower increase of XCO as a function of temperature compared to the MW synthesized catalyst. MW sol-gel synthesized Ce0.8Sm0.2O2 exhibited a high performance (∼90%) for CO oxidation over a period of more than 20h in stream. In addition the effect of reaction temperature and contact time (W/F) on the activity of the CeO2-based materials for CO oxidation kinetics were investigated. The activation energy of the reaction was found to be in the range 36–43kJ/mole depending on the catalyst composition.
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