Silica-supported Pd and shell/core PdAu nanoparticles of a similar size were evaluated for neopentane conversion. Monometallic Pd exhibited poor neopentane isomerization selectivity in favor of high selectivity to primary and secondary hydrogenolysis products. Similarly sized PdAu catalysts of increasing Pd weight loading were synthesized to evaluate the effect of increasing Pd monolayers on neopentane conversion. All PdAu catalysts had neopentane conversion selectivity within the range of monometallic Pd catalysts from previous work (∼5-30%). However, there was an inverse relationship between Pd weight loading and neopentane isomerization selectivity. The increase in isomerization selectivity did not correlate to a decrease in heats of adsorption as seen with monometallic Pd catalysts, but was correlated with the catalyst surface structure which suggests a geometric effect as the cause for changes in catalytic performance rather than an electronic effect.
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