Davison, Andrea Dianne (2008) Synthesised Sulfonic Solid Acid Catalysts for Liquid Phase Reactions. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The move to use heterogeneous solid acid catalysts as new, cleaner, renewable catalysts for
liquid phase reactions is at the forefront of scientific research, with the focus on the ability to
tailor and improve the physical and chemical properties of the catalysts in order to tailor their
acidity to catalytic activity for specific liquid phase reactions.

The aim of this project was to determine the role of the support in imparting acidity and
catalytic activity in liquid phase reactions to three different types of supported solid acid
catalyst; polystyrene, silica and a fluorinated hydrocarbon polymer.

For the sulfonic acids supported on silica, two main synthesis routes (grafted and co-condensed)
with the use of two alternative tethers (propyl, phenyl and also an additional non acidic tether)
were compared.

Of the synthesised materials, structural properties were characterised and compared using
several techniques. Nitrogen adsorption was used in order to ascertain the pore size and
distribution, X-ray diffraction to determine the long range order, elemental analysis to determine
the relative sulfur content and X-ray phototelectron spectroscopy to analyse the environment of
the sulfur in order to establish successful acidification.

Surface acidities of all three supported sulfonic acids were better characterised and compared
using ammonia adsorption calorimetry. The extent of the adsorption and molar enthalpies of
ammonia adsorption (ΔHadsn) were interpreted in terms of abundance, accessibility and strength
of surface acid sites.

Catalytic activities were measured and compared using the isomerization of α-pinene liquid
phase reaction.

In brief, the main findings of this project indicate that the commercially available fluorinated
polymer Nafion® resin demonstrated the highest acid strength and much higher specific
catalytic activities compared to the other supported sulfonic acids. The acid strengths on
polymeric and silica supports were similar, with poor catalytic activities. The routes used in
order to synthesise, characterise and acidify the supported sulfonic acids were successful.

addavisonfinalthesis.pdf - Accepted Version

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