Whereas the synthesis principles of supported metal catalysts are well documented in the open literature, impregnation protocols on shaped bodies represent sensitive industrial know-how and are, therefore, rarely found. We investigated various synthesis parameters for both wetness (WI) and dry (DI) impregnations to prepare Pd/γ–Al2
alumina beads. Two kinds of catalysts were achieved: homogeneously dispersed catalysts with no metal gradient across the beads and eggshell catalysts. A combination of optical images, Castaing microprobe analysis, elemental analysis, and TEM made it possible to discriminate between catalysts according to their metal loading, location across the bead diameter, and metal dispersion. Regardless of the macropore structure of the alumina beads, we found that volatile solvents (acetone) were preferred for preparing homogeneous catalysts by WI, whereas the use of a viscous aqueous solution (water/glycerol) in DI resulted in an eggshell-type catalyst. The atomic layer deposition (ALD) method was also investigated as a physical vapor phase deposition method for preparing eggshell catalysts. Representative-shaped catalysts were tested for CO oxidation as a model reaction in order to highlight the differences between catalysts with a homogeneous metal distribution (no metal gradient) and eggshell-type.
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