Copper-Containing SiCN Precursor Ceramics (Cu@SiCN) as Selective Hydrocarbon Oxidation Catalysts Using Air as an Oxidant



A molecular approach to metal-containing ceramics and their application as selective heterogeneous oxidation catalysts is presented. The aminopyridinato copper complex [Cu2(ApTMS)2] (ApTMSH=(4-methylpyridin-2-yl)trimethylsilanylamine) reacts with poly(organosilazanes) via aminopyridine elimination, as shown for the commercially available ceramic precursor HTT 1800. The reaction was studied by 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy. The liberation of the free, protonated ligand ApTMSH is indicative of the copper polycarbosilazane binding. Crosslinking of the copper-modified poly(organosilazane) and subsequent pyrolysis lead to the copper-containing ceramics. The copper is reduced to copper metal during the pyrolysis step up to 1000 °C, as observed by solid-state 65Cu NMR spectroscopy, SEM images, and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). Powder diffraction experiments verified the presence of crystalline copper. All Cu@SiCN ceramics show catalytic activity towards the oxidation of cycloalkanes using air as oxidant. The selectivity of the reaction increases with increasing copper content. The catalysts are recyclable. This study proves the feasibility of this molecular approach to metal-containing SiCN precursor ceramics by using silylaminopyridinato complexes. Furthermore, the catalytic results confirm the applicability of this new class of metal-containing ceramics as catalysts.