Recently, a new materials characterization instrument and technique employing simultaneous differential scanning calorimetry/X-ray diffraction/mass spectrometry (DSC/XRD/MS) have been developed at Dow. Use of this technology can be illlustrated by the study of various materials such as polymers, organics/pharmaceuticals, inorganics, and catalysts.
Presented here is the use of the DSC/XRD/MS instrument to study the thermostructural behavior of four model copper-based catalyst systems during activation and regeneration. The instrument allows simultaneous generation of thermal, structural and chemical data in real-time during temperature programmed analysis and provides useful insights into the chemical and physical processes occurring. In addition, the calorimetry data yield qualititative information on the magnitude and rate of heat flow, while the diffraction data provide structural dynamics of reduction, oxidation and crystallite growth.
The results of this study conclusively show cuprous oxide as an intermediate in the reduction of the copper oxide portion of each of the model catalysts. However, such features as the onset temperature and copper surface area varied widely among the four catalysts in response to the same chemical event conducted under similar experimental conditions. On the other hand, oxidation runs on the reduced catalysts were all similar to each other, first producing cuprous oxide from copper metal over a broad range of temperature, followed by the oxidation of cuprous oxide to copper oxide at even higher temperatures.