Density Functional Theory Study on the Role of Polyacetylene as a Promoter in Selective Hydrogenation of Styrene on a Pd Catalyst
journal contributionposted on 13.02.2017, 00:00 by Shunxin Fei, Bo Han, Qingfan Zhang, Ming Yang, Hansong Cheng
Understanding mechanisms of catalyst–substrate interactions is of essential importance for the design and development of novel catalysts with superior performances. In the present density functional theory study, selective hydrogenation of styrene on a polyacetylene (PA)-supported Pd4 catalyst (Pd4/PA) was employed as a model system to address how catalyst–substrate interactions affect the charge state of Pd, which subsequently influences catalytic activity. It was found that the Pd cluster can be anchored strongly on the CC bond of the polymer substrate through the π–d interaction, which further leads to charge rearrangement on the Pd4 cluster with the top two Pd atoms being more negatively charged. By comparing the calculated minimum energy profiles of styrene hydrogenation on surfaces of both pure Pd4 and Pd4/PA, the mechanism that dictates the catalytic process on Pd4/PA was identified. Charge analysis reveals that the enhanced catalytic activity of Pd4/PA is largely attributed to the negative charges on the two topmost Pd atoms, which facilitates both hydrogenation of styrene and desorption of the product. Nevertheless, PA hydrogenation to produce polyethylene (PE) was also found to be a potentially viable process with a moderate activation barrier of 0.43 eV, which may consequently lead to the formation of a PE-supported Pd4 catalytic system. As a consequence, the absence of π orbitals of the PE substrate may significantly reduce the electronic interaction between Pd4 and PE, which ultimately leads to the catalytic performance similar to the activity on the pure Pd4 cluster.