Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Aleksey Vasiliev

Committee Members

Hua Mei, Ismail Kady


Linear alkylbenzenes (LAB) are key intermediates in the synthesis of linear alkylbenzene sulfonate surfactants that are used in the manufacture of detergents. Production of LAB with traditional Lewis acids as catalysts, such as hydrofluoric acid, results in the formation of large amounts of toxic wastes and corrosion of industrial equipment. Phosphotungstic acid (PTA) has gained much attention in recent years as a solid catalyst for various alkylation reactions. This research work aims to develop a novel material based on PTA-containing silica gel, which can effectively catalyze LAB synthesis. Sol-gel synthesis of silica gel in the presence of PTA and tetraethyl orthosilicate as precursors produced a mesoporous aterial containing covalently embedded PTA clusters. Obtained superacidic catalyst demonstrated high catalytic activity in liquid-phase alkylation of benzene by various alkenes. Covalent embedding of catalytically active HPA clusters prevents their leaching from the catalyst surface, which enabled its excellent catalytic properties.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.