Title

Synthesis and characterization of porous metal oxides and desulfurization studies of sulfur containing compounds

Date of Completion

January 2012

Keywords

Engineering, Materials Science

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This thesis contains two parts: 1) synthesis and characterization of porous metal oxides that include zinc oxide and a porous mixed-valent manganese oxide with an amorphous structure (AMO) 2) the desulfurization studies for the removal of sulfur compounds. ^ Zinc oxide with different nano-scale morphologies may result in various porosities with different adsorption capabilities. A tunable shape microwave synthesis of ZnO nano-spheres in a co-solvent mixture is presented. The ZnO nano-sphere material is investigated as a desulfurizing sorbent in a fixed bed reactor in the temperature range 200 to 400 °C and compared with ZnO nanorods and platelet-like morphologies. Fresh and sulfided materials were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), BET specific surface area, pore volume, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), Raman spectroscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The tunable shape microwave synthesis of ZnO presents a high sulfur sorption capacity at temperatures as low as 200 °C which accounts for a three and four fold enhancement over the other preparations presented in this work, and reached 76 % of the theoretical sulfur capacity (TSC) at 300 °C.^ Another ZnO material with a bimodal micro- and mesopore size distribution investigated as a desulfurizing sorbent presents a sorption capacity that reaches 87% of the theoretical value for desulfurization at 400 °C at breakthrough time. A deactivation model that considers the activity of the solid reactant was used to fit the experimental data. Good agreement between the experimental breakthrough curves and the model predictions are obtained. ^ Manganese oxides are a type of metal oxide materials commonly used in catalytic applications. Little is known about the adsorption capabilities for the removal of sulfur compounds. One of these manganese oxides; amorphous manganese oxide (AMO) is highly promising material for low temperature sorption processes. Amorphous manganese oxide (AMO) has been used in catalytic processes such as for the catalytic oxidation of benzyl alcohol, the preferential oxidation of CO, and for the capture of formate species. This chapter explores the possibility of using AMO in sorption processes for the removal of two contaminants; H 2S and COS in the temperature range 200 - 400 °C. ^