Well-defined silica supported bimetallic catalysts Pt100-x Pdx (where x is the molar ratio of Pd) are prepared by Surface Organometallic Chemistry (SOMC) via controlled decomposition of Pd2(allyl)2Cl2 on Pt/SiO2. For comparison purposes, Pt100-x Pdx bimetallic catalysts is also prepared by ion-exchange (IE). According to the results of STEM, XAS and H2 chemisorption, all bimetallic nanoparticles, prepared using neither SOMC nor IE, produce discrete formation of monometallic species (either Pt or Pd). Most catalysts exhibit a narrow particle size distribution with an average diameter ranging from 1 to 3 nm for samples prepared by IE and from 2 to 5 nm for the ones synthesized by SOMC. For all catalysts investigated in the present work, iso-butane reaction with hydrogen under differential conditions (conversions below 5%) leads to the formation of methane and propane (hydrogenolysis), n-butane (isomerization), and traces of iso-butylene (dehydrogenation).
The total rate of reaction decreases with increasing the Pd loading for both catalysts series as a result of decreasing turnover rate (expressed as moles converted per total surface metal per second) of both isomerization and hydrogenolysis. In the case of Pt100-x Pdx(SOMC) catalysts, the results suggest a selective coverage of Pt (100) surface by a Pd layer, followed by a buildup of Pd overcoat onto a Pd layer assuming that each metal keeps its intrinsic catalytic properties. There is no mutual electronic charge transfer between the two metals (DFT). For the PtPd catalysts prepared by IE, the catalytic behavior cannot simply be explained by a surface coverage of highly active Pt metal by less active Pd (not observed), suggesting there is a formation of a surface alloy between Pt and Pd collaborated by EXAFS and DFT. The catalytic results are explained by a simple structure-activity relationship based on the previously proposed mechanism of C-H bond and C-C Bond activation and cleavage for iso-butane hydrogenolysis, isomerization, cracking and dehydrogenation.