Abstract The dehydrogenation of cyclohexanol to cyclohexanone is very important in the manufacture of nylon. Copper-based catalysts are the most popular catalysts for this reaction, and on these catalysts the reaction mechanism and active site are in debate. In order to elucidate the mechanism and active site of the cyclohexanol dehydrogenation on copper-based catalysts, density functional theory with dispersion corrections were performed on up to six facets of copper in two different oxidation states: monovalent copper and metallic copper. By calculating the surface energies of these facets, Cu(111) and Cu2O(111) were found to be the most stable facets for metallic copper and for monovalent copper, respectively. On these two facets, all the possible elementary steps in the dehydrogenation pathway of cyclohexanol were calculated, including the adsorption, dehydrogenation, hydrogen coupling and desorption. Two different reaction pathways for dehydrogenation were considered on both surfaces. It was revealed that the dehydrogenation mechanisms are different on these two surfaces: on Cu(111) the hydrogen belonging to the hydroxyl is removed first, then the hydrogen belonging to the carbon is subtracted, while on Cu2O(111) the hydrogen belonging to the carbon is removed followed by the subtraction of the hydrogen in the hydroxyl group. Furthermore, by comparing the energy profiles of these two surfaces, Cu2O(111) was found to be more active for cyclohexanol dehydrogenation than Cu(111). In addition, we found that the coordinatively unsaturated copper sites on Cu2O(111) are the reaction sites for all the steps. Therefore, the coordinatively unsaturated copper site on Cu2O(111) is likely to be the active site for cyclohexanol dehydrogenation on the copper-based catalysts.
Bibliographical noteVolume Title - Reactivity Concepts at Surfaces: Coupling Theory with Experiment
- Copper oxide