Metal containing mesoporous silica materials: Synthesis, characterization, and applications

Date of Completion

January 2006


Engineering, Materials Science




The work presented here comprises the development of a new route for the incorporation of transition metals (TM = Mn, V, Cr) into the pores of mesoporous silica materials, the characterization, and the applications of the resulting materials. The mesoporous silica material used in this work is of the M41S family, known as MCM-48. The first part of the work is going to be focused on in the incorporation of manganese species. Characterization of the resulting materials will be sub-divided in two major parts: (1) Structural and textural properties and (2) Analysis of the Mn oxidation state, coordination and location in the mesoporous host. The process of incorporation of Mn into the mesoporous materials takes place by using high valence metal precursor anions. Then a mechanism to describe the process of loading the Mn species will be proposed. The method developed makes possible the incorporation of high loadings of transition metals while maintaining the properties of the host material, MCM-48. ^ In the second part of the research the synthesis method developed in the first part is used to incorporate other transition metals such as vanadium and chromium. As in the first part, the nature of the TM species is investigated and their catalytic application in oxidation of styrene is also studied. The materials show good activity towards styrene oxidation with conversions as high as 100%. The catalysts can also be recycled without significant loss of activity. ^ Finally, the last part of the research deals with the incorporation of tin oxide into mesoporous silica. A similar approach to the one used for transition metals was used to load tin in MCM-48, however, discrete tin oxide nanoparticles were formed on the surface of the mesoporous structure rather than inside of the pores. The sensing properties towards reducing gases such as hydrogen of these materials were tested, and the Sn containing mesoporous silica show promising properties for gas sensing applications. ^