Characterizations of aluminum-promoted sulfated zirconia on mesoporous MCM-41 silica: Butane isomerization

Jung Hui Wang, Chung Yuan Mou

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Sulfated zirconia (SZ) was supported on mesoporous molecular sieves MCM-41 by impregnation of zirconium sulfate followed by calcination. The nanochannels of MCM-41 provide a large surface area for the solid state dispersion of zirconium sulfate and a steric restriction on formation of zirconia nanoparticles. The catalysts were tested in n-butane isomerization. With the addition of a proper amount of alumina as a promoter, denoted as ASZ/MCM-41, the catalytic activity was dramatically improved in comparison to the activities of SZ/MCM-41. The increase of activity was determined primarily by the amount of aluminum added and the temperature of calcination. The SZ/MCM-41 catalysts were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), high resolution TEM (HR-TEM), NH3 adsorption (NH3-TPD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray absorption (EXAFS). In particular, the Zr K-edge EXAFS data give one a measure of the degree of dispersion of zirconia on the surface of MCM-41. The trend of the promotion effects of alumina on SZ in butane isomerization is not monotonic; there is an optimum level of Al-loading for high activity. It is explained based on three quantitative factors: increased sulfur loadings, balanced distribution of Lewis and Brønsted acid sites, and higher dispersion of zirconia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-270
Number of pages11
JournalMicroporous and Mesoporous Materials
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Aluminum
  • Butane
  • Isomerization
  • MCM-41
  • Mesoporous
  • Promoter
  • Sulfated zirconia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials


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