Catalysts based on molybdena (MoO3) reduced at mild temperatures are highly active and selective for the hydroisomerization of alkanes; however, further catalyst development has been hampered by the structural complexity of the material and the controversy regarding the nature of the active phase. The present work is aimed at determining the relationship between the content of carbon present in an oxycarbide phase and the activity for n-butane hydroisomerization. A series of temperature-programmed oxidation (TPO) and temporal analysis of product (TAP) data showed that the oxycarbidic carbon content is not related to the activity of the sample for the isomerization of n-butane to isobutane. The formation of a carbon-containing phase is, therefore, not crucial to obtain an active catalyst. This study also highlights the capability of the multi-pulse TAP technique to investigate structure-activity relationships over materials with readily variable atomic composition.
- Temporal analysis of products (TAP)