Decomposition of methyl formate on W(100), W(100)-(5 $times; 1)C, and W(100)-CO($beta;) surfaces Academic Article uri icon


  • The decomposition of methyl formate was examined using temperature-programmed reaction spectroscopy under ultrahigh vacuum conditions on single-crystal W(100), W(100)-CO(β), and W(100)-(5 × 1)C surfaces. The W(100) surface was highly selective toward formation of CO(β) and hydrogen from methyl formate. Hydrocarbon species, including methane, were produced on this surface from a complex with a stoichiometric excess of hydrogen only after the CO(β) states were saturated by cracking methyl formate. Passivation of the surface by adsorption of CO to form the W(100)-CO(β) surface prior to exposure to HCOOCH3 shifted the selectivity in favor of H2CO and CH3OH. Methyl formate decomposition on this surface followed a reaction pathway different from that on the W(100) surface: no hydrogen-excess surface complex was formed, and no methane was produced on the W(100)-CO(β) surface. Passivation of the surface by formation of the carbide chemilayer also shifted the selectivity toward hydrocarbon formation. The reaction pathways observed on the W(100) and W(100)-CO(β) surfaces both took place on the W(100)-(5 × 1)C surface, and methane was again evolved as on the W(100) surface via a complex involving an excess of hydrogen. This unusual complex appears to involve multiple methoxy groups and surface tungsten atoms which stabilize the excess hydrogen. © 1980.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Catalysis

author list (cited authors)


citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors


publication date

  • April 1980