Selective Hydrogenation of Acrolein Over Pd Model Catalysts: Temperature and Particle-Size Effects

In this work, the selectivity in hydrogenation of acrolein over Fe 3 O 4 -supported Pd nanoparticles is investigated as a function of nanoparticle size in the 220-270 K temperature range. While Pd(111) shows nearly 100% selectivity towards the desired hydrogenation of the C=O bond to produce propenol, Pd nanoparticles were found to be much less selective towards this product. In-situ detection of surface species using infrared-reflection absorption spectroscopy shows that the selectivity towards propenol critically depends on the formation of an oxopropyl spectator species. While an overlayer of oxopropyl species is effectively formed on Pd(111) turning the surface highly selective for propenol formation, this process is strongly hindered on Pd nanoparticles by acrolein decomposition resulting in CO formation. We show that the extent of acrolein decomposition can be tuned by varying the particle size and the reaction temperature. As a result, significant production of propenol is observed over 12 nm Pd nanoparticles at 250 K, while smaller (4 and 7 nm) nanoparticles did not produce propenol at any of the temperatures investigated. The possible origin of particle size dependence of propenol formation is discussed. This work demonstrates that the selectivity in hydrogenation of acrolein is controlled by the relative rates of acrolein partial hydrogenation to oxopropyl surface species and of acrolein decomposition, which has significant implications for rational catalyst design.


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