Catalytic behavior of nanostructured sulfated zirconia promoted by alumina: Butane isomerization

Jung Hui Wang, Chung Yuan Mou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Promotion of sulfated zirconia with alumina (ASZ) improves its catalytic activities in n-butane isomerization. The activity and stability of the sulfated zirconia catalysts are investigated in three different nanostructures: ASZ supported on MCM-41, ASZ nanoparticles, and Al-promoted mesoporous sulfated zirconia. The increase of activity was determined primarily by the amount of aluminum addition and the temperature of calcination. The remarkable activity and stability of the Al-promoted catalysts are due to an improved distribution of acid sites strength. The Al loadings in all three catalysts can be adjusted so that optimum catalytic activities for butane isomerization could be found. The increase of butane conversion can be as high as 6 times of that in un-promoted SZ catalysts. This is due to an enhanced amount of weak Brønsted acid sites with intermediate strength on the optimal catalysts. For nanoparticle form of sulfated zirconia, the activity is most steady which is related to the optimum distribution of weak Brønsted acid. On the other hand, too much strong Brønsted acid leads to rapid decay of activity because of coking and cracking. The overall reaction mechanism of the isomerization of n-butane over sulfated zirconia was discussed to understand the details in product distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-172
Number of pages11
JournalCatalysis Today
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 29 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Alumina
  • Butane
  • Isomerization
  • MCM-41
  • Mesoporous zirconia
  • Nanoparticle
  • Promoter
  • Sulfated zirconia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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