Acidity of titania-supported tungsten or niobium oxide catalysts: Correlation with catalytic activity

Thomas Onfroy, Guillaume Clet, Saeed B. Bukallah, Tom Visser, Marwan Houalla

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40 Citations (Scopus)


The acidity of catalytic systems based on tungsten oxide or niobium oxide supported on titania was compared. Two series with metal contents up to 3.6 atom nm-2 were prepared by incipient wetness impregnation of the titania support with ammonium metatungstate or niobium oxalate solutions. Characterization of both systems by X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy studies did not show evidence of bulk metal oxide formation. The acidity was monitored by adsorption of 2,6-dimethylpyridine (2,6-lutidine) followed by infrared spectroscopy. The catalytic activity was tested for the reaction of isopropanol dehydration. At a reaction temperature of 403 K, WO x/TiO2 catalysts were inactive for a surface density of W ≤ 1.2 W atom nm-2. Above this loading, the activity increased progressively with increasing W content. Similar evolution was observed for the abundance of relatively strong Brønsted acid sites (i.e. able to retain lutidine at 573 K). In contrast, NbOx/TiO2 catalysts were essentially inactive at this reaction temperature and a higher reaction temperature (473 K) was required to reach a comparable catalytic activity. No threshold of Nb loading for the development of catalytic activity was observed. Similar behavior was evidenced for the abundance of medium strength Brønsted acid sites (able to retain lutidine at 523 K). For both systems, a direct correlation between the catalytic activity and the abundance of Brønsted acid sites was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-87
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 10 2006


  • 2,6-Dimethyl pyridine adsorption
  • Acidity
  • Propanol dehydration
  • Titania-supported niobium oxide
  • Titania-supported tungsten oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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