The density functional theory (DFT) method is used to investigate the structure and bonding of silica and aluminosilicate nanoclusters containing five- and six-membered oxygen rings. The clusters, which are derived from the BEA zeolite structure, are considered as models of the protozeolitic clusters that are incorporated into the pore walls of steam stable aluminosilicate mesostructures assembled from zeolite seeds. Two locally different Brønsted acid sites in the aluminosilicate structure are identified for the adsorption of a water molecule. The sterically more open acid site is favored for water binding. The stability of the aluminosilicate structure in the presence of H 2O molecule is studied by breaking an Al-O bond and inserting a water molecule into the five-membered ring structure. We find that an excitation energy at least 18 times larger than the room-temperature thermal energy is needed to break the stable five-membered ring structure, implying a high hydrothermal stability and acidity for this aluminosilicate structure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry