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Aldehyde-Alcohol Reactions Catalyzed under Mild Conditions by Chromium(III) Terephthalate Metal Organic Framework (MIL-101) and Phosphotungstic Acid Composites

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journal contribution
posted on 2011-12-28, 00:00 authored by Lev Bromberg, T. Alan Hatton
Porous materials based on chromium­(III) terephthalate metal organic frameworks (MIL-101) and their composites with phosphotungstic acid (PTA) were studied as heterogeneous acid catalysts in aldehyde-alcohol reactions exemplified by acetaldehyde-phenol (A-P) condensation and dimethylacetal formation from benzaldehyde and methanol (B-M reaction). The MIL-101 was synthesized solvothermically in water, and the MIL101/PTA composite materials were obtained by either impregnation of the already prepared MIL-101 porous matrix with phosphotungstic acid solution or by solvothermic treatment of aqueous mixtures of Cr­(NO3)3, and terephthalic and phosphotungstic acids. The MIL101/PTA materials appeared to be effective catalysts for both A-P and B-M reactions occurring at room temperature, with half-lives ranging from 0.5 h (A-P) to 1.5–2 h (B-M) and turnover numbers over 600 for A-P and over 2900 for the B-M reaction, respectively. A synergistic effect of the strong acidic moieties (PTA) addition to mildly acidic Brønsted and Lewis acid cites of the MIL-101 was observed with the MIL101/PTA composites. The ability of the PTA and MIL101/PTA materials to strongly absorb and condense acetaldehyde vapors was discovered, with the MIL101/PTA absorbing over 10-fold its dry weight of acetaldehyde condensate at room temperature. The acetaldehyde was converted rapidly to crotonaldehyde and higher-molecular-weight compounds while in contact with MIL-101 and MIL101/PTA materials. The stability of the MIL-101 and MIL101/PTA catalysts was assessed within four cycles of the 1-day alcohol-aldehyde reactions in terms of the overall catalyst recovery, PTA or Cr content, and reaction rate constants in each cycle. The loss of the catalyst over 4 cycles was approximately 10 wt % for all tested catalysts due to the incomplete recovery and minute dissolution of the components. The reaction rates in all cycles remained unchanged and the catalyst losses stopped after the third cycle. The developed MIL101/PTA composites appear to be feasible for industrial catalytic applications.