Synthesis of a Large Pore Periodic Mesoporous Slicas with Crystalline Channel Walls at Pressures <5 GPa



Periodic mesoporous silica materials were first discovered by Mobil Oil in 1992 for use in petroleum cracking applications. It was envisaged that these larger pore materials would allow for a more effective processing of the heavier hydrocarbon molecules than microporous zeolite catalysts. However, this did not happen because the mesoporous silicas proved to be insufficiently hydrothermally stable, a consequence of their amorphous (e.g. non-crystalline) channel walls. In addition, the acidity of the amorphous walls of Al-doped mesoporous silicas, proved to be much less than that of crystalline Al-modified zeolites. As a consequence, their catalytic properties fell far behind that of zeolites for petroleum cracking. Further, the synthesis of such silica materials was industrially and economically inefficient, and their development and use stalled as a result. There remains a need for highly acidic, stable, economical, durable periodic mesoporous silica catalysts with crystalline pore walls that exhibit a high chemical and thermal stability, and have low cost of production and use.


Lehigh University has developed an improved catalyst for the conversion of heavy crude petroleum into gasoline. synthesizing a mesoporous silica article with crystalline pore walls is provided comprising the steps of: providing a mesoporous silica starting material consisting of silica, oxygen, and optionally aluminum; infiltrating the mesoporous starting material with a carbon source to form an infiltrated starting material; placing the infiltrated starting material into a high-pressure apparatus; and subjecting the infiltrated starting material to a pressure of not greater than 4 GPa; and heating the infiltrated starting material at a preselected temperature and for a time sufficient to crystallize the pore walls of the starting material to thereby form a mesoporous article that has crystalline pore walls and pores filled with carbon; and heating the mesoporous article to a temperature sufficient to oxidize the carbon, thereby removing carbon from the pores to yield a mesoporous silica article having crystalline pore walls.


Lehigh Tech ID# 102910-01




Petroleum Industry, Catalyst for catalytic crude oil cracking.




Lehigh University is initially interested in identifying industry partners to co-develop the technology, ultimately leading to licensing.


App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Utility United States 13/302,500 8,685,356 11/22/2011 4/1/2014 11/22/2031
For Information, Contact:
Rick Smith
Lehigh University
Kai Landskron