Deactivation of Oxidation Catalysts by Oil-Derived Sulphur 2004-01-1738
The most common mode of deactivation suffered by catalysts fitted to two-stroke engines has traditionally been thermal degradation, or even meltdown, of the washcoat and substrate. The high temperatures experienced by these catalysts are caused by excessively high concentrations of HC and CO in the exhaust gas which are, in turn, caused by a rich AFR and the loss of neat fuel to the exhaust during the scavenging period. The effects of catalyst poisoning due to additives in the oil is often regarded as a secondary, or even negligible, deactivating mechanism in two-stroke catalysts and has therefore received little attention. However, with the introduction of direct in-cylinder fuel injection to some larger versions of this engine, the quantities of HC escaping to the exhaust can be reduced to levels similar to those found on four-stroke gasoline engines. Under these conditions, the effects of poisoning are much more significant to catalyst durability, particularly for crankcase scavenged derivatives which allow considerable quantities of oil to escape into the exhaust in a neat, or partially burned form.
In this paper the effects of oil-derived sulphur on catalyst performance are examined using specialised test apparatus. The oil used throughout the study was formulated specifically for a two-stroke engine fitted with direct in-cylinder fuel injection. The sulphur content of this oil was 0.21% by mass and particular attention was paid to the role of this element in the resulting deactivation. The catalyst was also designed for two-stroke applications and contained a high palladium loading of 300g/ft3 (28g/l) to prolong the life of the catalyst.
It was found that the sulphur caused permanent deactivation of the CO reaction and increased the light-off temperature by around 40°C after oiling for 60 hours. This deactivation was progressive and led to a reduction in surface area of the washcoat, particularly in the micropores of around 5Å diameter. By using a validated catalyst model the change in surface area of the precious metal was estimated. It was found that the simulated palladium surface area had to be reduced by a factor of around 7.5 to produce the light-off temperature of the deactivated catalyst. Conversely, the light-off temperature of the C3H6 reaction was barely affected by the deactivation.