Synthesis of novel mesoporous sulfated zirconia nanosheets derived from Zr-based metal–organic frameworks†
Flower-like mesoporous sulfated zirconia nanosheets (SZNs) were developed by thermal decomposition of in situ sulfated Zr-MOFs for the first time. The sulfated Zr-MOFs act as both a morphological template and zirconium and sulfate sources. The amounts of SO42− in the synthesis system of UiO-66 greatly affected the morphology of sulfated Zr-MOFs via a coordination modulation method. The flower-like sulfated Zr-MOF nanosheets were obtained as the S/Zr ratio increased to 0.5. The calcination temperature has a great influence on the structural properties and catalytic performances of sulfated zirconia nanosheets other than morphology. Sulfated zirconia nanosheets (SZN-500) obtained by calcination at 500 °C had a large surface area (186.1 m2 g−1) and strong bonding between sulfate and zirconia atoms and exhibited a good catalytic activity and reusability for the transesterification of tributyrin with methanol. This viable synthetic strategy can offer an alternative way to prepare functionalized metallic oxides with a specific morphology.