High-temperature catalysts containing Pd supported on high-surface area ceria-zirconia are optimum materials for fuel economy when automotive engines operate under high speed or load conditions. A prerequisite for developing such thermally stable catalysts is to gain a good understanding of the thermal deactivation modes contributing to the aging and degradation of catalysts in harsh thermal environments. It was discovered by X-ray diffraction that upon hightemperature aging, Pd may sinter into large (about 10 nm diameter) particles and become encapsulated in the ceria-zirconia. To confirm this conclusion, a prototype high-temperature catalyst containing Pd supported on high-surface area ceria-zirconia, aged at temperature above 1100 °C is studied by transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
The ceria-zirconia supported Pd (0.25 wt%) catalyst was aged at 1105 °C and calcined at 700 °C for 2 h. For TEM sample preparations, first of all, a large-size aggregate with diameter about 1 mm was selected and sandwiched between by two pieces of silicon crystal.