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ACS applied materials & interfaces

Synthesis and characterization of sulfated TiO2 nanorods and ZrO2/TiO2 nanocomposites for the esterification of biobased organic acid.


PMID 22891691

Abstract

TiO(2) nanorods and ZrO(2)-modified TiO(2) nanocomposites have been prepared by hydrothermal synthesis and the deposition-precipitation method. Their sulfated products were tested as solid superacid catalysts for the esterification of levulinic acid which was used as a model bio-oil molecule. SEM and TEM characterization showed that TiO(2) nanorods with diameters ranging from 20 to 200 nm and with lengths of up to 5 μm were synthesized by a hydrothermal method at 180 °C. ZrO(2) nanoparticles with the diameters ranging from 10 to 20 nm were evenly deposited on TiO(2) nanorods. IR and XPS results suggested that sulfated ZrO(2)/TiO(2) nanocomposite has higher content of sulfate groups on the surface with a S/(Zr+Ti) ratio of 13.6% than sulfated TiO(2) nanorods with a S/Ti ratio of 4.9%. The HPLC results showed that sulfated ZrO(2)/TiO(2) nanocomposite have enhanced catalytic activity for esterification reaction between levulinic acid and ethanol compared to sulfated TiO(2) nanorods. The conversion of levulinic acid to ethyl levulinate can reach to 90.4% at the reaction temperature of 105 °C after 180 min.

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