Ag-Cu alloy catalysts for ethylene epoxidation have been shown to yield higher selectivity towards ethylene oxide compared to pure Ag, the unique catalyst employed in the industrial process. Previous studies showed that under oxidizing conditions Cu forms oxide layers on top of Ag. Using first-principles atomistic simulations based on density functional theory, we investigate the reaction mechanism on the thin oxide layer structures and establish the reasons for the improved selectivity. We extend the range of applicability of the selectivity descriptor proposed by Kokalj et al. [J. Catal. 254, 304 (2008)], based on binding energies of reactants, intermediates, and products, by refitting its parameters so as to include thin oxide layer catalysts. We show that the selectivity is mainly controlled by the relative strength of the metal-carbon vs. metal-oxygen bonds, while the height of the reaction barriers mostly depend on the binding energy of the common oxametallacycle intermediate. (C) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.
|Titolo:||Ag-Cu catalysts for ethylene epoxidation: Selectivity and activity descriptors|
|Autori:||Nguyen NL; de Gironcoli S; Piccinin S|
|Rivista:||THE JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1063/1.4803157|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Journal article|