Our studies of zeolites are directed towards understanding the structural chemistry that determines their performance in a wide range of chemical conversions.
In this project, which is part of the St Andrews EaSICAT program of post-graduate research in catalytic chemistry, we aim to investigate the role of framework aluminium in determining the solid acidity and stability of known and novel zeolite materials. There are two kinds of acidity in these materials, Bronsted acidity associated with bridging framework hydroxyls, and Lewis acidity associated with coordinatively unsaturated aluminium (or other) cations. In this PhD, which will be undertaken in collaboration with an industrial partner, we will investigate the behaviour of Al in zeolite frameworks by advanced diffraction, multinuclear NMR and other characterisation methods, and determine how it controls the stability, activity and selectivity of zeolite catalysts for reactions that are important in sustainable processes, with a view to optimisation of catalyst performance.
Keywords: Zeolites, Solid-state NMR spectroscopy, Structural changes, Hydrothermal stability, Lewis acid catalysis
Students interested in undertaking a PhD in the Wright group in this research area should register their interest as soon as possible. Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Paul Wright