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Title: Molybdenum carbide nanoparticles as catalysts for oil sands upgrading: Dynamics and free-energy profiles

There is no doubt that a huge gap exists in understanding heterogeneous catalysis between a cluster model of a few atoms and a bulk model of periodic slabs. Nanoparticles, which are crucial in heterogeneous catalysis in industry, lie in the middle of the gap. We present here our work on the computational modelling of molybdenum carbide nanoparticles (MCNPs) as the catalysts for the upgrading of oil sands in the in-situ environment, using benzene hydrogenation as a model reaction. With a cluster model, efforts were first made to understand the mechanism of the reaction with a density functional theory (DFT) study on the adsorption of benzene and its hydrogenation product – cyclohexane, as well as the cyclic hydrogenation reaction intermediates on the Mo{sub 2}C(0001) surface. From the thermodynamic data, along with literature information, it was found that the benzene hydrogenation reaction on molybdenum carbide happens most likely through a Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism with the gradual lifting up of the benzene molecule. The electron localization function (ELF) was then used to help understand the nature of the interactions between the MCNPs, identifying strong multi-center interactions between the adsorbates and the MCNPs. To enable the treatment of larger nanoparticles, a fast semi-empirical density functionalmore » tight-binding (DFTB) method was parameterized. With this method, the potential energy profiles of benzene hydrogenation reactions on different sizes of MCNPs are calculated. The study was then extended to consider a MCNP embedded in solvent (benzene), using a quantum mechanical (DFTB) / molecular mechanical approach. Calculations on the free energies profiles with the umbrella sampling method show that the entropy of the MCNPs and the solvent are essential in understanding the catalytic activity of the transition metal related nanoparticles for solid/liquid heterogeneous catalysis.« less
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Department of Chemistry, Institute for Quantum Science and Technology, and Centre for Molecular Simulation, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4 (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22499195
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 1702; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: ICCMSE 2015: International conference of computational methods in sciences and engineering 2015, Athens (Greece), 20-23 Mar 2015; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; BENZENE; CATALYSTS; CLUSTER MODEL; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; CYCLOHEXANE; DENSITY FUNCTIONAL METHOD; ELECTRONS; ENTROPY; FREE ENERGY; HETEROGENEOUS CATALYSIS; HYDROGENATION; MOLYBDENUM; MOLYBDENUM CARBIDES; NANOPARTICLES; OIL SANDS; POTENTIAL ENERGY; QUANTUM MECHANICS; REACTION INTERMEDIATES