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Dehydrogenation mechanisms of methyl-cyclohexane on γ-alumina supported platinum subnanometric-clusters : DFT coupled with experimental kinetics and kinetic modelling

Abstract : Catalytic reforming aims at transforming naphta into high octane aromatics and producing simultaneously dihydrogen. The catalyst used is composed of platinum-based sub-nanometric clusters highly dispersed on a gamma-alumina support which behavior under reaction conditions is the subject of numerous questions. We investigate experimentally and theoretically one model reaction probing the metal sites, the dehydrogenation of methyl-cyclohexane into toluene. A detailed atomic scale understanding of the mechanisms involved, and their related kinetic parameters, is required. We undertook DFT calculations with PBE and PBE-dDsC functionals on a relevant Pt13/γ-alumina model, in order to determine the intermediates, transition states and their free energies. The reaction mechanism was explored by assuming sequential C-H breaking steps. Reconstructions of the cluster and hydrogen migrations occur along the reaction pathway, highlighting its high fluctionality (also confirmed by molecular dynamics). Free energies of activation for C-H bond breaking, H migration and cluster’s reconstruction were systematically determined at T=625 K. The highest activation Gibbs free energy (ΔrG‡=95 kJ/mol) is found for the third C-H bond breaking on methyl-cyclohexene, while the most stable intermediate is the {toluene+H2} adsorbed product. However, other C-H bond breaking steps and eventually toluene desorption may compete. A comparison with the Pt (111) surface is also given. Rate constants of elementary steps estimated by DFT are introduced in 8 Langmuir-Hinshelwood (LH) kinetic models based on a single rate determining step (RDS) concept, or on a limiting steps sequence deduced from an energetic span analysis. We finally carried out experimental tests on Pt/γ-alumina catalysts (0.3 wt% Pt) at various temperatures, space times, hydrogen and methyl-cyclohexane partial pressures, to provide experimental kinetic data. The calculated apparent activation enthalpy is predicted to be 196 kJ/mol in close agreement with the experimental one (195 kJ/mol) for the best LH model (third C-H bond breaking as RDS). Moreover, the dependence of reaction rates on hydrogen and methyl-cyclohexane partial pressures are discussed with respect to experimental trends and models. Although the main trends are recovered by the kinetic model, some discrepancies are revealed. This work paves the way for a future microkinetic modeling.
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Wei Zhao. Dehydrogenation mechanisms of methyl-cyclohexane on γ-alumina supported platinum subnanometric-clusters : DFT coupled with experimental kinetics and kinetic modelling. Other. Université de Lyon, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSEN052⟩. ⟨tel-01827240⟩

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