Molecular simulation of CO chemisorption on Co(0001) in presence of supercritical fluid solvent: A potential of mean force study

A Asiaee and KM Benjamin, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 145, 084506 (2016).

DOI: 10.1063/1.4953171

For several decades, heterogeneous catalytic processes have been improved through utilizing supercritical fluids (SCFs) as solvents. While numerous experimental studies have been established across a range of chemistries, such as oxidation, pyrolysis, amination, and Fischer- Tropsch synthesis, still there is little fundamental, molecular-level information regarding the role of the SCF on elementary heterogeneous catalytic steps. In this study, the influence of hexane solvent on the adsorption of carbon monoxide on Co(0001), as the first step in the reaction mechanism of many processes involving syngas conversion, is probed. Simulations are performed at various bulk hexane densities, ranging from ideal gas conditions (no SCF hexane) to various near- and super-critical hexane densities. For this purpose, both density functional theory and molecular dynamics simulations are employed to determine the adsorption energy and free energy change during CO chemisorption. Potential of mean force calculations, utilizing umbrella sampling and the weighted histogram analysis method, provide the first commentary on SCF solvent effects on the energetic aspects of the chemisorption process. Simulation results indicate an enhanced stability of CO adsorption on the catalyst surface in the presence of supercritical hexane within the reduced pressure range of 1.0-1.5 at a constant temperature of 523 K. Furthermore, it is shown that the maximum stability of CO in the adsorbed state as a function of supercritical hexane density at 523 K nearly coincides with the maximum isothermal compressibility of bulk hexane at this temperature. Published by AIP Publishing.

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