Synthesis of nanostructured catalysts by surfactant-templating of large-pore zeolites†
Zeolites and related crystalline molecular sieves are utilised in a wide range of reactions and processes due to their regular microporous structure, strong acidity, shape selectivity and ion-exchange properties. However, their practical applications can be limited by the small size of the channels and cavities of the microporous structures, and therefore, a great deal of effort has been devoted to enhancing the transport of large-sized molecules in the host pores. Several commercially available zeolites, including faujasite (FAU), mordenite (MOR), beta (BEA), ZSM-5 (MFI) and zeolite L (LTL), have been exposed to a variety of acid and base treatments in the presence of a surfactant (cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide, CTAB), which led to the controlled introduction of intracrystalline mesoporosity. The detailed characterisation of the obtained mesostructured zeolites has been carried out using FTIR spectroscopy, high resolution TEM, XRD, N2 adsorption, 29Si and 27Al MAS NMR. This work demonstrates a successful application of the supramolecular templating approach for generating tuneable mesoporosity in a range of zeolites possessing 12-membered ring channels, which has been applied to zeolite L for the first time, thus producing hierarchical meso-microporous materials with improved accessibility of active sites and enhanced catalytic performance in dealkylation of tri-isopropylbenzene.