Phase and facet-engineering of transition alumina leads to (hydro)thermally stable alumina-supported metal catalysts



Inherent thermal instability of gamma-alumina above 800-900 ⁰C leads to deactivation of noble metal-supported alumina catalysts used in automotive applications. This is typically solved by adding toxic (barium) and/or rare-earth (lanthanum, cerium) elements. We show that facet-dependent engineering of transition-alumina leads to (hydro)thermally stable supported metal catalysts in the absence of toxic and rare-earth additives. Since pure high-surface area theta-alumina can be prepared at 1,050-1,100 ⁰C directly from gamma-alumina (or boehmite), and because of its stable major (100) facet with very low surface energy of 597 mJ/m2, we succeeded in preparing ~0.07 wt% Rh and ~3 wt% Pd catalysts active in NO reduction and hydrocarbon oxidation that survive hydrothermal aging up to 1,100 ⁰C with little-to-no deactivation.


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