The Propylene Oxide Rearrangement Catalyzed by the Lewis Acid Sites of ZSM-5 Catalyst with Controllable Surface Acidity

  • Mengnan Liang
  • Xiangshuai Zhu
  • Weihua MaEmail author


The rearrangement of propylene oxide is greatly affected by the acidity of the catalyst. ZSM-5 zeolite with easily regulated surface acidity was used to catalyze the reaction with propionaldehyde as main product. The difference in the ratio of silica to alumina resulted in significant changes in the acidity. The results show that the ratio of the amount of Lewis acid sites (LAS) to the amount of Brønsted acid sites (BAS) has a great positive influence on the catalytic performance. When the ratio of silica to alumina reaches 50, the ratio of the LAS to BAS reaches the maximum value of 18.6, the catalytic performance is excellent. The in-situ diffuse reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (DRIFTS) was employed to study the adsorption and reaction behavior of propylene oxide on the ZSM-5 catalyst. Results showed that the epoxy ring of propylene oxide first adsorbs on the Lewis acid site (Al atom with empty electron orbital) of ZSM-5 catalyst to form an intermediate with the bond between C=O and C–O which then converts to the propionaldehyde. The Lewis acid sites is of great importance for the reaction.


Propylene oxide rearrangement Propionaldehyde ZSM-5 zeolite Silica/alumina ratio Lewis acid site 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21276127).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10562_2019_2687_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1414 KB)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Chemical EngineeringNanjing University of Science and TechnologyNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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