1 Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark2 Technische Universität München3 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology4 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Microporous and mesoporous (hierarchical) ZSM-5 samples, prepared by desilication, dealumination and templating with carbon nanoparticles have been characterized by adsorbing benzene, cyclohexane and 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene (mesitylene) to probe the location, the strength and the accessibility of Brønsted acid sites. The mesoporosity introduced by the methods explored resulted in a statistical accommodation of benzene at the channel intersections. Cyclohexane showed the highest strength of physisorption in micro- and mesopores and, thus, probes the largest fractions of acid sites. Mesitylene adsorption showed that mesopores of hierarchical zeolites do not contain Brønsted acid sites. All results indicated that the mesoporosity influences only the accessibility of the acid sites in the ZSM-5 crystals mostly via shortening diffusion pathways, but not the strength of the interaction with the cyclic hydrocarbons. The enhanced transport rates observed for benzene are associated to the decreased pore length inside the mesoporous particles, rather than to changes of the pore structure or the generation of additional sites.