The temporal changes to supported Ni sites during the growth of graphitic carbon nanofibers (GCNs) via the decomposition of chlorobenzene over Ni/SiO2 at 873 K have been investigated. The reaction of chlorobenzene with hydrogen also generated benzene, via catalytic hydrodechlorination, as the principal competing reaction. Reaction selectivity was found to be time dependent with a switch from a preferential hydrodechlorination to a predominant decomposition that generated an increasingly more structured carbon product over prolonged time-on-stream. These findings are discussed in terms of Cl/catalyst interaction(s) leading to metal site restructuring, the latter manifest in a sintering and faceting of the Ni metal particles. The pressure exerted on the metal/support interface due to fiber formation was of sufficient magnitude to extract the Ni particle from the support; the occurrence of an entrapped Ni particle at the fiber tip is a feature common to the majority of GCNs with the incorporation of Ni fragments along the length of the GCN. Metal site restructuring has been probed by temperature-programmed reduction of the passivated samples, H2 chemisorption/temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) and XANES/EXAFS analyses. This restructuring serves to enhance destructive chemisorption and/or facilitate carbon diffusion to generate the resultant GCN. The nature of the carbonaceous product has been characterized by a combination of TEM-EDX, SEM, XRD and temperature-programmed oxidation (TPO). © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Carbon nanofibers
- Chlorobenzene decomposition
- H 2 chemisorption/TPD
- Ni/SiO 2
- Temperature-programmed reduction