Synergistic decarboxylation over Ce-doped Na/SiO2 facilitating functionalized monomer production from furfural for manufacturing polymers†
Functionalized monomers are of utmost importance in producing new polymers and smart materials. Herein, a two-step approach involving heterogeneous catalysis was developed to produce a functionalized monomer (2-vinylfuran) from bio-based furfural, giving an overall yield of 89%. Economic analysis suggests that this facile approach incurs much lower costs, and its practicality improves the availability of 2-vinylfuran. This is due to the delicate structure of the optimized 4Na5Ce/SiO2, where Na species are present at the oxygen vacancies of the ceria that protect the catalyst structure from collapse, and the catalyst consequently displays excellent performance. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations revealed that the reaction occurs on the Na and Ce species. The adsorption of a furan group onto Na led to side reactions, which were suppressed in the presence of Ce, resulting in higher selectivity. Finally, a polymer based on 2-vinylfuran was prepared, which shows good surface properties and thermodynamic stability.