Synthesis of the large pore aluminophosphate STA-1 and its application as a catalyst for the Beckmann rearrangement of cyclohexanone oxime

Nuria González-Camuñas, ANGEL Cantin, Daniel Dawson, Magdalena Lozinska, Joaquín Martínez Triguero, James Mattock, Paul A Cox, Sharon Elizabeth Ashbrook, Paul Wright, Fernando Rey

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The preparation of stable large pore aluminophosphate (AlPO) zeotypes offers materials for applications in adsorption and catalysis. Here we report the synthesis of the pure AlPO with the SAO topology type using N,N’-diethylbicyclo[2.2.2]oct-7-ene-2,3:5,6-dipyrrolidine (DEBOP) as the organic structure directing agent in the presence of fluoride. The AlPO-SAO can be rendered microporous (pore volume 0.36 cm3 g-1) via calcination and the calcined form remains stable in the presence of moisture. The structure of the dehydrated form has been established by Rietveld refinement (tetragonal P-4n2, a = 13.74317(10) Å, c = 21.8131(5) Å, V = 4119.94(16) Å3). Multinuclear 27Al and 31P MAS NMR, together with 2D COSY and CASTEP NMR calculations, enables resolution and assignment of the signals from all crystallographically distinct Al and P framework sites. Structural elucidation of the as-prepared aluminophosphate-fluoride is more challenging, because of the presence of partially protonated OSDA molecules in the 3D-connected channel system and in particular because the fluoride ions coordinate with positional disorder to some of the Al atoms to give 5-fold as well as tetrahedrally-coordinated framework Al species. These are postulated to occupy Al-F-Al bridging sites, where they are responsible for distortion of the framework [P-4n2, a = 13.3148(9) Å, c = 22.0655(20) Å, V = 3911.9(7) Å3]. Calcination and removal of fluoride ions and OSDAs allows the framework to expand to its relaxed configuration. The SAO aluminophosphate can also be synthesised with small amounts of Si and Ge in the framework, and these SAPO SAO and GeAPO SAO type materials are also stable to template removal. IR spectroscopy with CO as a probe at 123 K indicates all have weak-to-mild acidity, increasing in the order AlPO < GeAPO < SAPO. These SAO materials have been investigated for their activity in the Beckmann rearrangement of cyclohexanone oxime to Ɛ-caprolactam at 598 K: while all are active, the AlPO form is favoured due to its high selectivity and slow deactivation, both of which are a consequence of its very weak acid strength, which is nevertheless sufficient to catalyse the reaction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Early online date13 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2024


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