The formation of isocyanic acid (HNCO) by reaction of NO, CO, and H2 over Pt/SiO2 and its hydrolysis on alumina

Ralf Dümpelmann, Noel W. Cant, David L. Trimm

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    The reaction of mixtures of NO, CO, and H2 over Pt/SiO2 in combination with Al2O3 has been investigated with on-line Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy as the principal analytical method. With Pt/SiO2 alone isocyanic acid (HNCO) can be observed directly as a substantial product. It comprises up to 45% of the CO converted in the temperature range from 200 to 300°C. The yield is maximized when the amounts of H2 and CO in the input stream are equal. No HNCO can be observed in experiments in which Al2O3 is placed downstream of the Pt/SiO2 or with a Pt/Al2O3 catalyst. Hydrolysis to NH3 and CO2 is then complete. For this reason it is unlikely that HNCO will escape a catalytic converter in vehicle use but it may be a significant intermediate during the warm-up phase. The formation of HNCO can be rationalized as resulting from the hydrogenation of NCO groups present in small concentrations on the Pt surface under conditions of high CO coverage. The yield of HNCO falls steeply above 300°C when the CO coverage is falling. It is unclear if hydrolysis of HNCO occurs by direct reaction of molecular HNCO on the Al2O3 surface or proceeds via the ubiquitious support-bound isocyanate species which have been observed in many previous studies. Previous observations of isocyanate formation in hydrogen-free systems can be rationalized as arising from HNCO formation by reverse spillover of hydrogen from OH groups on the support to generate HNCO on the platinum metal. This is then transported back to the support through the gas phase to form NCO groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)96-103
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Catalysis
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


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