BULLETIN OF THE KOREAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, vol.34, no.5, pp.1481-1486, 2013 (SCI-Expanded)
Bifunctional Fe-SBA-15-SO3H mesoporous materials with different Si/Fe molar ratios (3, 5, and 7) have been synthesized via a simple direct hydrothermal method and characterized by XRD, N-2-adsorption/desorption, TG/DTG and FT-IR techniques, and used as solid acid catalysts in the esterification of lactic acid with methanol. XRD and N-2 sorption characterizations show successful iron doping within the mesoporous channels of SBA-15-SO3H. The FT-IR and TG/DTG characterizations also reveal the presence of iron. With the incorporation of Fe ions into the SBA-15-SO3H, the acid sites substantially increased because of the self-separated acidity of the hydrolysis of Fe3+ solutions. However, in the Si/Fe = 3 molar ratio, the catalytic conversion decreased which is caused by the reduced cooperation effect between the acid pairs due to the weakened hydrogen bonds and collapse of the pore structure. This further suggests that the mesoporous structure decreases with the decrease in Si/Fe ratio.