Superacidic Mesoporous Catalysts Containing Embedded Heteropolyacids

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Abstract: Superacidic mesoporous silica materials containing embedded heteropolyacids (HPAs) were synthesized by sol–gel method in acidic media. In these materials, HPAs were immobilized into the silica structure covalently. The most acidic materials were obtained at the use of Pluronic P123 as a non-ionic pore-forming agent. Ionic surfactants also formed mesoporous structures, however, their interaction with HPA reduced acidity of the products. Obtained materials were tested as heterogeneous catalysts in liquid-phase alkylation of 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene by 1-decene. The most effective catalyst demonstrated higher conversion of starting substances to long-chain isomeric alkylbenzenes as compared to the activity of zeolite HY, a well-known alkylation catalyst. No leaching of HPA from silica gel was observed after the alkylation.