Development and Functionalization of Magnetic Nanoparticles as Stable and Reusable Catalyst for Triacetin Synthesis
The application of magnetic nanoparticles as an adsorbent and catalyst support in solving the environmental issues has recently received great attention due to their unique physical and chemical properties, such as high surface area, ease of anchoring the functional groups, lower processing cost, high stability and ease of separation under external magnetic field. In the present study, a magnetic catalyst was prepared by embedding the magnetite (Fe3O4) within the silica shell on which sulfate ions were anchored (Fe3O4@SiO2@SO42-). The catalyst was successfully employed for the glycerol esterification with acetic acid to obtain 100% selectivity towards triacetin within 45 min of reaction duration at 80 ºC. The catalyst was successfully isolated from the reaction medium magnetically and reused during six consecutive reaction cycles while retaining 90% glycerol conversion levels and 50% triacetin selectivity in cycle.