Mapping metals incorporation of a whole single catalyst particle using element specific X-ray nanotomography

J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Jan 14;137(1):102-5. doi: 10.1021/ja511503d. Epub 2015 Jan 2.

Abstract

Full-field transmission X-ray microscopy has been used to determine the 3D structure of a whole individual fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) particle at high spatial resolution and in a fast, noninvasive manner, maintaining the full integrity of the particle. Using X-ray absorption mosaic imaging to combine multiple fields of view, computed tomography was performed to visualize the macropore structure of the catalyst and its availability for mass transport. We mapped the relative spatial distributions of Ni and Fe using multiple-energy tomography at the respective X-ray absorption K-edges and correlated these distributions with porosity and permeability of an equilibrated catalyst (E-cat) particle. Both metals were found to accumulate in outer layers of the particle, effectively decreasing porosity by clogging of pores and eventually restricting access into the FCC particle.