Solid Phosphoric Acid Catalyst: A Multinuclear NMR and Theoretical Study Academic Article uri icon


  • The synthesis, structure, and acid function of solid phosphoric acid (SPA) catalyst were studied in detail. 31P and 29Si MAS NMR and X-ray powder diffraction identified the following crystalline silicon phosphate phases in SPA: Si5O(PO4)6, hexagonal-SiP2O7, Si(HPO4)2·H2O, and SiHP3O10. The acidity of SPA is due to a liquid or glassy solution of phosphoric acid oligomers supported on the silicon phosphate phases. 15N MAS NMR of adsorbed pyridine-15N and 13C MAS NMR of adsorbed acetone-2- 13C showed Bronsted acid sites and no Lewis acid sites. 1H→15N→31P and 1H→13C→31P double cross polarization MAS NMR of the probe molecules provided a rare opportunity to use NMR to unambiguously localize chemisorption sites; the probe molecules are complexed to phosphoric acid and pyrophosphoric acid but not to the silicon phosphate phases. In situ NMR of the oligomerization of propene on SPA suggests that propene quantitatively reacts with phosphoric acid and its oligomers to form isopropyl phosphate, and formation of this very stable intermediate accounts for the lower olefin oligomerization activity of SPA relative to acidic zeolites. Theoretical calculations including geometries at B3LYP/6-311+G(d,p) and chemical shifts at GIAO-MP2/tzp/dz were used to model complexation of acetone or propene to SPA, and these support our conclusions.

author list (cited authors)

  • Krawietz, T. R., Lin, P., Lotterhos, K. E., Torres, P. D., Barich, D. H., Clearfield, A., & Haw, J. F.

publication date

  • January 1, 1998 11:11 AM