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Titanium(IV)-induced cristobalite formation in titanosilicates and its potential impact on catalysis

Perera, Ayomi S., Cockcroft, Jeremy K., Trogadas, Panagiotis, Yu, Haiyue, Kapil, Nidhi, Coppens, Marc-Olivier
Journal of materials science 2019 v.54 no.1 pp. 335-345
alkali metals, catalysts, catalytic activity, crystals, cyclohexenes, epoxidation reactions, microparticles, porous media, silica, temperature, titanium, transmission electron microscopy
Cristobalite, a crystalline form of silica, is shown to be formed within an amorphous titanosilicate, at previously unknown conditions. Mesoporous titanosilicate microspheres (MTSM) were synthesized as efficient catalysts for the epoxidation of cyclohexene with tert-butyl hydroperoxide. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy revealed the presence of crystals in this predominantly amorphous material, after calcination at 750 °C. When calcined at 800 °C, the crystals were identified via PXRD as predominantly cristobalite, which possibly marks its first observation in titanosilicates at such a low temperature, without adding any alkali metals during synthesis. Catalytic experiments conducted with MTSM materials calcined at temperatures varying from 650 to 950 °C, reveal that the amount of cristobalite formed increases with temperature, and that it has a significant impact on the pore structure, and, remarkably, correlates with the catalytic activity of titanosilicates.