College Park, Maryland      June 6 - 10 , 2004

WP19: Neutron investigations of selected heteropolyacids

C. M. Brown (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Maryland; NIST Center for Neutron Research), R. Burns (Chemistry, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle, Australia), E. Gilbert, J. Schulz (Bragg Institute, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Australia)

Heteropolyacids and their hydrates have been cited as the fastest proton conductors known, possible electrolytes for solid acid batteries, composites for polymer membrane fuel cells and industrial catalysts. Examples of the latter include the oxidation of methacrolein, and the oxidative dehydrogenation of isobutyric acid, both of which yield methacrylic acid. The product, when reacted with methanol, gives methyl methacrylate, which in turn is polymerized to form poly(methyl methacrylate) or PMMA. However, despite their commercial use, their structure and catalytic function at a molecular level remains unclear. Consequently, we have initiated investigations into the structure and vibrational spectroscopy from a series of catalysts of the type Cs3-nHn[PMo12O40] where n is varied from 0 to 3, with a goal to resolving these fundamental issues.

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