Experimental and modeling studies locate the weak spots of γ-alumina in water
“Reactivity of shape-controlled crystals and metadynamics simulations locate the weak spots of alumina in water”, R. Réocreux, E. Girel, P. Clabaut, A. Tuel, M. Besson, A. Chaumonot, A. Cabiac, P. Sautet, C. Michel, Nat. Commun. (2019) 10:3139
The main Achilles’ heel of alumina-γ is its sensitivity to water: in its presence, it decomposes and loses its structural properties. This is a major problem, water playing an important role in the transition from petrochemicals to more environmentally friendly chemistry. A collaboration between ENS Lyon, IRCELYON and IFPEN has made it possible to determine the structure of the sites from which alumina-γ breaks down in water, and to rationalize the protective properties of certain polyols. Due to the industrial importance of γ-alumina, this is a significant advance for the stabilization of heterogeneous catalysts in aqueous media.