A novel poly(p-styrenesulfonic acid) grafted carbon nanotube/graphene oxide architecture with enhanced catalytic performance for the synthesis of benzoate esters and fatty acid alkyl esters†
Considering the issue of low yield in the synthesis of benzoate esters and fatty acid alkyl esters, designing a high catalytic activity composite catalyst is very significant and attractive. In this study, the rational design strategy was used to develop a novel poly(p-styrenesulfonate acid, namely PSSF) grafted multi-walled carbon nanotube composite with graphene oxide nanomaterial (PSSF-mCNTs-GO) using a simple two-step method. FT-IR and Raman spectroscopy, XRD, SEM, TEM, and NH3-TPD were used to characterize the inorganic–organic hybrid material. In particular, the addition of GO remarkably enhanced its catalytic performance in the production of fatty acid alkyl esters (92.16%) and benzoate esters (90.27%), in which the conversion was more than doubled as a result of its strong π–π interaction with the substrate. In addition, PSSF-mCNTs-GO can be separated from the substrate conveniently and still maintained a relatively high catalytic activity even after 6 times recycling, which indicates its rather good reusability. This novel catalyst is promising in the synthesis of biodiesel and benzoate esters.