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Effects of binder, coking and regeneration on acid properties of H-mordenite during TDP reaction

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The effects of binder, coking and regeneration on the acid properties of H-mordenite zeolite during toluene disproportionation reaction (TDP) have been investigated by solid-state 31P-MAS-NMR of various adsorbed phosphorous probe molecules in conjunction with elemental analysis by ICP-MS technique. A series of fresh, spent and regenerated mordenite-based commercial catalysts were examined and the results were also compared with binder-free H-mordenite zeolite and unformulated γ-alumina binder. It is found that parent H-mordenite zeolite possessed only Brønsted acidity, which is responsible for the observed catalytic activity. In contrast, the γ-Al2O3 binder exhibited only Lewis acidity and plays a minor role during the catalytic reaction. While the amount of strong Brønsted acid sites decreased rapidly during initial coking, it reached a plateau at a total coke content of ca. 7 wt%, corresponding to ca. 80% decrease in total acidity. That the catalyst remained active even under deep coke deposition (>7 wt%) condition indicated catalytic activity may be invoked by subsequent coking taking place on the external surface rather than intracrystalline channels of the zeolite catalyst. Furthermore, upon catalyst regeneration treatment, ca. 75% of the total acidity could be effectively recovered.


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