A density functional theory study of catalytic epoxidation of ethylene and propylene

Fellah, Mehmet Ferdi
The reactions which give the products ethylene oxide, vinyl alcohol, vinyl aldehyde and vinyl radical for ethylene oxidation and the reactions which give propylene oxide, propanal, acetone and pi-allyl radical for propylene oxidation were investigated by using Density Functional Theory (DFT) method with B3LYP/LanL2DZ and 6-31g(d,p) basis sets in Gaussian’03 software. Silver and silver oxide were used as catalyst surface cluster models. Surface comparison was made for silver (111), (110) and (100) surfaces. Ethylene oxidation reaction was studied on these silver surfaces. Oxygen effect on ethylene oxide formation reaction was also investigated on silver (111) surface. Ethylene and propylene oxidation reactions were completed on both Ag13(111) and Ag14O9(001) surface clusters. VASP software which utilizes periodic plane wave basis sets was also used to compare trends of reactions for ethylene and propylene oxidations obtained by using Gaussian’03 software. According to results, silver (110) surface is more active for ethylene oxide formation than (111) and (100) surfaces. Hill site of (110) surface is much more active than hollow site of (110) surface since oxygen atom weakly adsorbed on hill site. Ethyl aldehyde and vinyl alcohol can not be formed on Ag(111) surface because of those higher activation barriers while ethylene oxide can be formed on cluster. Activation barrier for ethylene oxide formation decreases with increasing oxygen coverage on Ag(111) surface. Ethylene oxametallocycle intermediate molecule was not formed on Ag2O(001) surface while it is formed on surface oxide structure on Ag(111). Ethyl aldehyde and vinyl alcohol are not formed on silver oxide (001) surface. For propylene oxidation, Π-allyl formation path has the lowest activation barrier explaining why silver is not a good catalyst for the propylene oxide formation while it is a good catalyst for the ethylene oxide formation. This situation is valid for silver oxide. Propylene oxide selectivity increased in the gas phase oxidation. The qualitative relative energy trend obtained by VASP software is the similar with that of calculations obtained by using GAUSSIAN’03 software.


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Citation Formats
M. F. Fellah, “A density functional theory study of catalytic epoxidation of ethylene and propylene,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2009.