The influence of adjacent Al atoms on the hydrothermal stability of H-SSZ-13: a first-principles study†
The Al concentration and distribution have a great influence on the hydrothermal stability of the H-SSZ-13 zeolites in experiments. In this work, first-principles calculations are performed to clarify the decomposition mechanism of an H-SSZ-13 framework with adjacent Al atom pair distribution under hydrothermal conditions. It is found that the adjacent Al atoms have a tendency to occupy the para-sites of the 4-membered rings (4MRs) in the framework. Water molecules are chemisorbed onto the Al atom one by one, and the hydroxylation of the neighboring O atoms induces the breaking of the Al–O bonds, which causes the first dealumination in 4MRs. The other Al atom in the para-site can be easily removed from the framework once the first one is lost. The feasible subsequent dealumination of adjacent Al atoms would break the linker of 6MRs in the framework, which is responsible for the degraded hydrothermal stability. Moreover, the partial substitution of metal ions (such as Na+ and Cu+) for the protons in the framework will greatly stabilize the Al–O bonds and enlarge the energy barrier of para-site Al dealumination, which leads to the improved hydrothermal stability of H-SSZ-13.