Property-activity relations of multifunctional reactive ensembles in cation-exchanged zeolites: a case study of methane activation on Zn2+-modified zeolite BEA

Alexander A. Kolganov, Anton A. Gabrienko, Ivan Yu Chernyshov, Alexander G. Stepanov, Evgeny A. Pidko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The reactivity theories and characterization studies for metal-containing zeolites are often focused on probing the metal sites. We present a detailed computational study of the reactivity of Zn-modified BEA zeolite towards C-H bond activation of the methane molecule as a model system that highlights the importance of representing the active site as the whole reactive ensemble integrating the extra-framework ZnEF2+ cations, framework oxygens (OF2−), and the confined space of the zeolite pores. We demonstrate that for our model system the relationship between the Lewis acidity, defined by the probe molecule adsorption energy, and the activation energy for methane C-H bond cleavage performs with a determination coefficient R2 = 0.55. This suggests that the acid properties of the localized extra-framework cations can be used only for a rough assessment of the reactivity of the cations in the metal-containing zeolites. In turn, studying the relationship between the activation energy and pyrrole adsorption energy revealed a correlation, with R2 = 0.80. This observation was accounted for by the similarity between the local geometries of the pyrrole adsorption complexes and the transition states for methane C-H bond cleavage. The inclusion of a simple descriptor for zeolite local confinement allows transferability of the obtained property-activity relations to other zeolite topologies. Our results demonstrate that the representation of the metal cationic species as a synergistically cooperating active site ensembles allows reliable detection of the relationship between the acid properties and reactivity of the metal cation in zeolite materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6492-6504
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Volume24
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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