New discovery could improve design of critical catalysts

A new reaction mechanism could be used to improve catalyst designs for pollution-control systems for diesel exhaust. Zeolites -- a type of catalyst which is essential in chemical and petroleum refineries -- have a crystalline structure containing tiny pores about 1 nanometer in diameter that are filled with copper-atom "active sites" where the chemistry takes place. In the new findings, the researchers discovered that ammonia introduced into the exhaust "solvates" these copper ions so that they can migrate within the pores, find one another and perform a catalytic step not otherwise possible.

Provided by Purdue University

Runtime: 2:35

Get Science360's video of the day in your mailbox each weekday.

Sign up now!