Decomposition of nitrous oxide by rhodium catalysts: Effect of rhodium particle size and metal oxide support

Hans Beyer, Jens Emmerich, Konstantinos Chatziapostolou, Klaus Köhler

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The catalytic decomposition of N2O by small rhodium particles (0.5-4.0 nm in diameter) supported on magnesia, silica, ceria, alumina and titania was studied in the absence and presence of oxygen. The impact of the use of rhodium chloride for catalyst preparation was also investigated. Rh/MgO and Rh/SiO2 are highly active catalysts for the decomposition of N 2O at low reaction temperatures (200-300°C), even in the presence of oxygen. The superior catalytic performance of Rh/MgO and Rh/SiO2 compared to Rh/CeO2, Rh/Al2O3 and Rh/TiO 2 is attributed to relatively large rhodium particles (dm = 2.1-2.4 nm) present in the more active catalysts compared to very small ones (dm = 1.0-1.4 nm) present in the other catalysts. The degree of inhibition caused by excess oxygen in the feed gas and the impact of chloride ions on the catalytic activity are found to vary with the acid-base properties of the support materials and their influence on the redox properties of the active metal. Both inhibitory effects seem to be interconnected and rise in the same order as the basicity of the support materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-416
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 4 Jan 2011


  • Decomposition
  • Metal oxide support
  • NO
  • Particle size
  • Rhodium catalyst


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