To decompose dimethylhexane-1,6-dicarbamate (HDC) to hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI), mixed CuO and ZnO catalysts with Cu/(Cu + Zn) ratio of 4 and 8% were prepared by coprecipitation (CP), sequential precipitation (SP) and incipient wetness impregnation (IW). The SP-derived CuO/ZnO catalysts showed higher HDC yields than those derived by CP and IW. The IW method produced CuO/ZnO catalysts consisting of larger CuO and ZnO particles compared to the two precipitation methods. The CP method led to substitution of Zn2+ by Cu2+ in the hydrozincite precursor phase, resulting in higher BET and Cu surface areas of CuO–ZnO catalysts due to intimate intergrowth of nano-sized particles. However, the inherent character of ZnO in the CP-derived catalysts was modified by interfacial contact between CuO and ZnO identified by UV–visible and Raman spectra. In contrast, the properties of CuO and ZnO, as well as the relatively large surface areas, were kept in the SP-derived catalysts owing to deposition of Cu precipitates to fully aged Zn precipitates. This is believed to be a benefit of the SP method for the reaction. Therefore, our preparation approach has great potential to be extended to various mixed oxide catalysts.
- Carbamate decomposition
- Sequential precipitation