Size-Controlled Nanoparticles Embedded in a Mesoporous Architecture Leading to Efficient and Selective Hydrogenolysis of Polyolefins

Sadow, Aaron
Huang, Wenyu
Yappert, Ryan
Esveld, Michaela
Ferrandon, Magali S.
Hackler, Ryan A.
LaPointe, Anne M.
Heyden, Andreas
Delferro, Massimiliano
Peters, Baron
Sadow, Aaron
Huang, Wenyu
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American Chemical Society
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Ames Laboratory
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ChemistryAmes Laboratory
A catalytic architecture, comprising a mesoporous silica shell surrounding platinum nanoparticles (NPs) supported on a solid silica sphere (mSiO2/Pt-X/SiO2; X is the mean NP diameter), catalyzes hydrogenolysis of melt-phase polyethylene (PE) into a narrow C23-centered distribution of hydrocarbons in high yield using very low Pt loadings (∼10–5 g Pt/g PE). During catalysis, a polymer chain enters a pore and contacts a Pt NP where the C–C bond cleavage occurs and then the smaller fragment exits the pore. mSiO2/Pt/SiO2 resists sintering or leaching of Pt and provides high yields of liquids; however, many structural and chemical effects on catalysis are not yet resolved. Here, we report the effects of Pt NP size on activity and selectivity in PE hydrogenolysis. Time-dependent conversion and yields and a lumped kinetics model based on the competitive adsorption of long vs short chains reveal that the activity of catalytic material is highest with the smallest NPs, consistent with a structure-sensitive reaction. Remarkably, the three mSiO2/Pt-X/SiO2 catalysts give equivalent selectivity. We propose that mesoscale pores in the catalytic architecture template the C23-centered distribution, whereas the active Pt sites influence the carbon–carbon bond cleavage rate. This conclusion provides a framework for catalyst design by separating the C–C bond cleavage activity at catalytic sites from selectivity for chain lengths of the products influenced by the structure of the catalytic architecture. The increased activity, selectivity, efficiency, and lifetime obtained using this architecture highlight the benefits of localized and confined environments for isolated catalytic particles under condensed-phase reaction conditions.
This document is the unedited Author’s version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in Journal of the American Chemical Society, copyright © 2022 American Chemical Society after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c11694. Posted with permission.