Synthesis and characterization of high specific surface area vanadium carbide; Application to catalytic oxidation

Frédéric Meunier, Pascale Delporte, Baudouin Heinrich, Christophe Bouchy, Claude Crouzet, Cuong Pham-Huu, Pierre Panissod, Jan J. Lerou, Patrick L. Mills, Marc J. Ledoux

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A method initially developed for the synthesis of high surface area carbides using volatile metallic precursors was successfully adapted to the preparation of high surface area vanadium carbide using a liquid precursor. The method consists of reacting metallic oxide vapours with activated charcoal to form the corresponding carbide which keeps the shape of the high surface area charcoal (shape memory synthesis). In the present extension of the method, the vanadium oxide V2O5 is liquid instead of being gas; V2O5 melts and spreads over the carbonaceous frame (1150 m2 g-1) as soon as it is heated to its melting point. Due to its good wetting properties, V2O5 covers the charcoal surface homogeneously. By further thermal treatment, the oxidic layer is reduced and carburized by the carbon, yielding a vanadium carbide which retains a very high dispersion. The composite product, still containing some carbon in its bulk, covered by carbide, exhibits a surface area greater than 200 m2 g-1. After careful passivation in air the vanadium carbide presents a superficial amorphous layer of 4 to 30 nm. This superficial layer contains oxygen. The pure vanadium carbide is air sensitive at room temperature and slowly reoxidises. This material is then tested as catalyst for the controlled oxidation of butane into maleic anhydride. Under rich mixture butane/oxygen V8C7 is stable but not selective yielding large amounts of CO and CO2; under lean mixture the catalyst is transformed into different vanadium oxycarbides and oxides, one of these oxycarbides being very active and selective when compared to a conventional VPO catalyst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberCA971694
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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