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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering doi: 10.1007/s11705-022-2285-5

Benzenesulfonic acid-grafted UIO-66 with improved hydrophobicity as a stable Brønsted acid catalyst

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Hydrothermal and catalytic stability of UIO-66 MOFs with defective structures are critical aspects to be considered in their catalytic applications, especially under the conditions involving water, moisture and/or heat. Here, we report a facile strategy to introduce the macromolecular acid group to UIO-66 to improve the stability of the resulting UIO-66−PhSO3H MOF in aqueous phase catalysis. In detail, UIO-66−PhSO3H was obtained by grafting benzenesulfonic acid on the surface of the pristine UIO-66 to introduce the hydrophobicity, as well as the Brønsted acidity, then assessed using catalytic hydrolysis of cyclohexyl acetate (to cyclohexanol) in water. The introduction of hydrophobic molecules to UIO-66 could prevent the material from being attacked by hydroxyl polar molecules effectively, explaining its good structural stability during catalysis. UIO-66−PhSO3H promoted the conversion of cyclohexyl acetate at ca. 87%, and its activity and textural properties were basically intact after the cyclic stability tests. The facile modification strategy can improve the hydrothermal stability of UIO-66 significantly, which can expand its catalytic applications in aqueous systems.

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