Chemical Titration of Promoted Ag/α-Al2O3 Ethylene Epoxidation Catalysts

Krishna R. Iyer, Aditya Bhan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We enumerate the active site density for a promoted Ag/α-Al2O3 ethylene epoxidation catalyst (35 wt.% Ag) by using trifluoroethanol as a chemical titrant. Trifluoroethanol, when introduced into the reactant stream, deprotonates to deposit stable trifluoroethoxy or trifluoromethyl groups on the Ag surface and inhibits ethylene oxide (EO) rates, thus enabling us to assess catalytic site densities. Active site densities vary between 52 and 69 μmolTFE gcat−1 across different chlorine coverages (0–0.4 monolayers) and different oxygen concentrations (2.5–7.7 mol%) in the reactor feed. Site densities measured by in situ trifluoroethanol chemical titration are distinct compared to those evaluated using ex-situ N2O decomposition (12.3 μmolN2O gcat−1) suggesting that dynamic restructuring of the Ag surface under reaction conditions may render pre-reaction chemisorption measurements insufficient to accurately enumerate the active sites relevant for ethylene epoxidation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere202300329
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 19 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge Dr. Christopher Ho, Dr. Victor Sussman and Dr. Daniel Hickman at Dow Inc., for helpful technical discussions. The authors gratefully acknowledge funding support from Dow through the University Partnership Initiative.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. ChemCatChem published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • active site density
  • alumina
  • ethylene epoxidation
  • silver


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