Vapor Phase Oxidation of Benzyl Alcohol Over Gold Nanoparticles Supported on Mesoporous TiO2

Research paper by Ashish Kumar, Vanama Pavan Kumar, Balla Putra Kumar, Venkataraman Vishwanathan, Komandur V. R. Chary

Indexed on: 10 Jun '14Published on: 10 Jun '14Published in: Catalysis Letters


The vapor phase oxidation of benzyl alcohol was investigated over gold nanoparticles supported on mesoporous titanium dioxide (anatase) catalysts under aerobic conditions. The catalysts were prepared by homogeneous deposition–precipitation method using urea as the precipitating agent. The physico-chemical properties of the synthesized catalysts were investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), pore size distribution (PSD), CO-chemisorption and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) techniques. The crystallite size of gold in Au/TiO2 catalysts was measured from XRD. The mesoporosity of TiO2 support and Au/TiO2 catalysts were confirmed by PSD analysis. TEM results suggest that gold nanoparticles are well dispersed over mesoporous TiO2. The catalytic functionality is well substantiated with particle size measured from TEM. XPS results reveal the formation of Au(0) after chemical reduction by NaBH4. The vapor phase benzyl alcohol oxidation was used as a test reaction to investigate the influence of the metal, nature of the support, and of metal-support interactions in Au/TiO2 catalysts and also the catalytic activity and stability of the Au/TiO2 catalysts. The conversion of benzyl alcohol was found to increase with decrease in the size of gold particles. Smaller gold particles and a higher amount of small gold particles had a beneficial effect on the catalytic activity. The catalytic activity in the presence of oxygen is believed to be associated with the transport of electrons through the catalyst to the adsorbed oxygen on the surface.

Graphical abstract 10.1007/s10562-014-1285-6.gif