Abstract by YING ZHANG
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Determining the Local Structure and Phase Evolution of Mesoporous Gamma Alumina Using Pair Distribution Function (PDF) Analysis
Gamma aluminas (γ-Al2O3) make excellent supports for catalysts in the automotive and petroleum industries because of their high surface area, large pore volume, and acid/base characteristics. Pure and silica doped alumina prepared by our novel solvent deficient methods exhibits superior properties as catalyst support in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Here we use Pair Distribution Function (PDF) analysis to study the local to intermediate-range structure of a series of pure and Si-doped aluminas calcined at 50 degree Celsius intervals between 50 and 1300 degree Celsius. This thorough study of alumina local structure allows us to separate general trends in the local structure from idiosyncrasies based on synthetic method/conditions. In addition, this study helps us identify the structural features responsible for improved thermal stability.