Fibrous silica (KCC-1) was impregnated with cobalt (Co), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn) oxides which are denoted as Co/KCC-1, Fe/KCC-1 and Zn/KCC-1 for hydroisomerization of n-hexane. The characterization analysis revealed that the introduction of Co, Fe, and Zn into KCC-1 significantly altered the physicochemical properties of KCC-1 including reduced surface area, pore volume as well as crystallinity. Pyridine adsorbed IR showed that higher amount of the Lewis acid sites (LAS) and Brønsted acid sites (BAS) when introduced the Co, Fe, and Zn into KCC-1. Interestingly, a new band at 1610 cm−1 of Zn/KCC-1, corresponds to the presence of LAS by the formation of binuclear species of Zn in the form of [ZnOZn]2+. The formation of [ZnOZn]2+ was further confirmed by the presence of a band at 350 nm and higher intensity of the binding energy at 1022.8 eV from UV-DRS and XPS analysis, respectively. From temperature-programmed reduction analysis, these binuclear species were formed at a higher temperature, which has a stronger interaction with the KCC-1. The proposed formation of [ZnOZn]2+ was also discussed in this work. Based on the n-hexane hydroisomerization, the Zn/KCC-1 possessed the most excellent catalytic performance amongst the catalysts owing to the existence of the binuclear species of [ZnOZn]2+, which acts as a new acidic center in the stabilization of generated protonic acid sites by trapping of electrons, resulting in increased isomers yield of n-hexane as well as no cracking products. Zn/KCC-1 showed the lowest activation energy compared to other catalysts within 423–673 K.
- Binuclear species
- Fibrous silica