Zeolite encapsulated metal complexes as heterogeneous catalysts for oxidation reactions
Willingh, Gavin Von
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This study describes the synthesis and characterisation of Cu(II) and V(IV) complexes of tri- and quadridentate ligands L1 and L2 formed by condensation of ethylenediamine with acetylacetonate in 1:1 and 1:2 molar ratio, respectively. Encapsulation of these metal complexes in the nanocage of zoilite-Y generates new heterogeneous catalysts. These catalysts were synthesized employing the flexible ligand method encapsulation technique.The structures of these encapsulated complexes were established on the basis of various physico-chemical and spectroscopic studies. The results indicated that the complexes did not hinder or modify the framework or structure of the zeolite, confirming successful immobilization of Schiff-bases through the voids of zeolite Y.These encapsulated complexes were screened as heterogeneous catalysts for various oxidation reactions such as such as phenol, benzene, styrene and cyclohexene using a green oxidant (H2O2). For comparison, the corresponding neat complexes were screened as potential homogeneous catalysts for these oxidation reactions. The results proved that the corresponding homogeneous systems described here represent an efficient and inexpensive method for oxidation of phenol, benzene, styrene and cyclohexene, having advantages over heterogeneous catalysis are its high activity and selectivity and short reaction times. Its major problem is its industrial application regarding principally the separation of the catalyst from the products.The size of the substrate has a significant effect on the conversion by encapsulated complexes such as in styrene oxidation. Therefore, it was established that steric effects of the substrates play a critical role in the poor reactive nature of the encapsulated complexes.In general, the percentage conversion decreased upon encapsulation of complexes in zeolite Y. All catalysts studied proved to be potential catalysts for the various oxidation reactions.It has been shown in this study that encapsulation can effectively improve product selectivity but requires a longer reaction time in most cases for maximum activity. Furthermore, oxovanadium complexes were more reactive than copper-based catalysts in all oxidation reactions tested in this study.A reaction mechanism study revealed that the activity of the encapsulated and neat complexes occurs through either formation of peroxovanadium (V) or hydroperoxidecopper(II) intermediate species.The studies in this thesis, therefore, conclude that the Cu(II) and V(IV) complexes encapsulated in Y-zeolite are active heterogeneous catalysts for the selective oxidation of various substrates. Encapsulation of the metal complexes in the super cages (-cages) of the zeolite matrix has the advantages of solid heterogeneous catalysts of easy separation and handling, ruggedness, thermostability, reusability (regeneration of the deactivated catalysts) as well as share many advantageous features of homogeneous catalysts.