The activity of different metal oxides in the catalytic combustion of a diesel soot having a high amount of adsorbed hydrocarbons has been investigated and tested in a TPO apparatus. Two different steps have been observed. The first is related to the combustion of hydrocarbons adsorbed on soot and the second one to the combustion of the graphitic solid fraction. A high surface area Fe2O3 was found to be the most active catalyst for the oxidation of hydrocarbons, whereas V2O5 was also able to promote the combustion of graphitic carbon. The oxidation of the hydrocarbon fraction has been correlated with the surface area and the strength of the metal-oxygen bond of the metal oxide. The combustion of graphitic carbon is favoured instead on metal oxides having a low melting point.
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