Evidence for strong acidity of the molecular sieve cloverite

Tery L. Barr, Jacek Klinowski, Heyong He, Klaus Albert, Georg Müller, Johannes A. Lercher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


ZEOLITES derive their catalytic activity from the strong acidity of protons attached to the negatively charged aluminosilicate frame-work, which makes the materials excellent proton donors. Unlike zeolites, the aluminophosphate molecular sieves1,2 are built from alternating AlO- 4 and PO+4 tetrahedra and are thus electrically neutral. Much attention has therefore been devoted to the generation of Bronsted acidity in these materials by introducing heteroatoms, such as Si, Mg, Fe, Co or Zn, to produce negatively charged frameworks3-6. Similar arguments apply to gallophosphate molecular sieves7-10, of which cloverite9,10 is a remarkable example. This extra-large-pore material contains pore openings in the form of a four-leafed clover, defined by a ring of 20 gallium and phosphorus atoms, some of which are linked to terminal hydroxyl groups. Here we use NMR, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (ESCA) and infrared spectroscopy to show that the P-OH groups in cloverite are localized versions of those in solid phosphoric acid, H3PO4. Cloverite is thus a strong Bronsted acid even though no heteroatoms are present in its framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-431
Number of pages3
Issue number6445
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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