Applied Catalysis A: General, Vol.530, 56-65, 2017
BEA nanosponge/ultra-thin lamellar MFI prepared in one-step: Integration of 3D and 2D zeolites into a composite for efficient alkylation reactions
The synthesis of hierarchical meso-/microporous zeolite materials with spatially controlled morphology, meso-imicroporosity, and acidity is an expanding area of research interest for a wide range of applications. Here, we report a one-step dual template synthesis method for integration of 3-dimensional (3D) BEA nanosponge and ultra-thin 2D lamellar MFI into a new type of hierarchical meso-/microporous zeolite composite structures. Specifically, the 2D layered MFI nanosheets were laid over the surface of or interdigitated into the 3D BEA particles in the bulk BEA nanosponge-lamellar MFI (BBLM) zeolite structure, which generated a unique morphology of interconnected micropores and mesopores underneath the 'skinning' shell (similar to 3-10 nm) of MFI nanosheets. The BBLM zeolites have higher mesoporosity than either bare BEA or lamellar MFI zeolites. The micropore size decreases with increasing lamellar MFI component in the composite. The fraction of external acid sites of BBLM zeolite composite, represented by the percentage of active sites accessible to bulky organic base molecules, decreases with increasing MFI component. Additionally, the types of acid sites are diversified in the BBLM composites compared to either bare BEA or lamellar MFI zeolites. The catalysis tests using conversion of benzyl alcohol in mesitylene showed that BBLM zeolites had significant higher activity and durability than single zeolites or their physical mixture. The BBLM zeolite composite provides a good model catalyst with integrated 2D-3D structures and meso-/microporosity for studying a series of important catalytic reactions in hierarchical zeolites. The one-step dual template synthesis method described herein is versatile and facile, which may prove to be a general platform for hierarchical zeolite composite design at the unit-cell scales of zeolites and with potentially broader applicability to other porous materials. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.