Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Schulz, Kirk H.

Committee Member

George, Clifford

Committee Member

Toghiani, Hossein

Committee Member

Hill, Priscilla

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering


Cerium and zirconium oxides are important materials in industrial catalysis. Particularly, the great advances attained in the past 30 years in controlling levels of gaseous pollutants released from internal combustion engines can be attributed to the development of catalysts employing these materials. Unfortunately, oxides of sulfur are known threats to the longevity of many catalytic systems by irreversibly interacting with catalytic materials over some time period. In this work, polycrystalline cerium-zirconium mixed-metal-oxide (MMO) solid solutions of various molar ratios were synthesized. High resolution x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was used to characterize the model system. The spectral data was examined for revelation of the surface species that form on these metal oxides after insitu exposures to sulfur dioxide at various temperatures. The model catalysts were exposed to sulfur dioxide using a custom modified in-situ reaction cell. A reliable sample platen heater was designed and built to allow the exposure of the model system at temperatures up to 673 K. The results of this study demonstrate the formation of sulfate and sulfite adsorbed sulfur species. Temperature and compositional dependencies were displayed, with higher temperatures and ceria molar ratios displaying a larger propensity for forming surface sulfur species. In addition to analysis of sulfur photoemission, the photoemission regions of oxygen, zirconium, and cerium were examined for the materials used in this study before and after the aforementioned treatments with sulfur dioxide. The presence of surface hydroxyl groups was observed and metal oxidation state changes were probed to further enhance the understanding of sulfur dioxide adsorption on the synthesized materials. Palladium loaded mixed-metal oxides were synthesized using a unique solid-state methodology to probe the effect of palladium addition on sulfur dioxide adsorption. Microscopic characterization of the wafers made using palladium-loaded MMO materials provide justification for using this material preparation method in surface science studies. The addition of palladium to this model system is shown to have a strong effect on the magnitude of adsorption for sulfur dioxide on some material/exposure condition combinations. Ceria/zirconia sulfite and sulfate species are identified on the palladium-loaded MMO materials with adsorption sites located on the exposed oxide sites.



XPS||catalytic converter||palladium||sulfur dioxide||zirconium oxide||cerium oxide||catalyst deactivation||ceria||zirconia