Synthesis of Mesoporous Silica Gels With Embedded Heteropolyacids

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Abstract: Silica gels containing embedded heteropolyacids were synthesized in acidic media by co-condensation of tetraethoxysilane with phosphotungstic or phosphomolybdic acids using the sol-gel technique. Surfactants dodecylamine, sodium dodecylsulfate, trimethylstearylammonium chloride, and Pluronic P123 were used as templates. The effect of the synthesis conditions on their structure and morphology was studied. All materials were mesoporous but contained micropores in their structures. Presence of bands of Keggin structures in fourier transform infrared spectroscopy spectra along with absence of X-ray diffraction patterns of crystalline heteropolyacids confirmed their fine incorporation into silica network. Particle sizes of modified materials were 500–1100 nm except for the W-containing sample obtained with trimethylstearylammonium chloride, which was significantly lower. This unusual effect was attributed to stabilization of primary silica nanoparticles by interactions between the surfactant and heteropolyacid. High ratio heteropolyacid/tetraethoxysilane resulted in partial loss of porosity. Obtained results might be used for optimization of synthesis of effective catalysts and adsorbents containing heteropolyacids in mesoporous structure. Graphical Abstract: [InlineMediaObject not available: see fulltext.]