The deposits formed during the DBD plasma conversion of CH4 were characterized by high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (HRSEM) and energy dispersive X-ray elemental analysis (EDX) for both cases of a non-packed reactor and a packed reactor. For the non-packed plasma reactor, a layer of deposits was formed on the dielectric surface. HRSEM images in combination with EDX and CHN elemental analysis of this layer revealed that the deposits are made of a polymer-like layer with a high content of hydrogen (60 at%), possessing an amorphous structure. For the packed reactor, γ-alumina, Pd/γ-alumina, BaTiO3, silica-SBA-15, MgO/Al2O3, and α-alumina were used as the packing materials inside the DBD discharges. Carbon-rich agglomerates were formed on the γ-alumina after exposure to plasma. The EDX mapping furthermore indicated the carbon-rich areas in the structure. In contrast, the formation of agglomerates was not observed for Pd-loaded γ-alumina. This was ascribed to the presence of Pd, which enhances the hydrogenation of deposit precursors, and leads to a significantly lower amount of deposits. It was further found that the structure of all other plasma-processed materials, including MgO/Al2O3, silica-SBA-15, BaTiO3, and α-alumina, undergoes morphological changes. These alterations appeared in the forms of the generation of new pores (voids) in the structure, as well as the moderation of the surface roughness towards a smoother surface after the plasma treatment.
- Dielectric barrier discharge
- Materials characterization
- Plasma catalysis-methane conversion