Catalysis Letters

, Volume 146, Issue 7, pp 1264–1272 | Cite as

Functional Ionic Liquids as Efficient and Recyclable Catalysts for the Methylation of Formaldehyde with Aromatics

  • Heyuan Song
  • Fuxiang Jin
  • Ronghua Jin
  • Meirong Kang
  • Zhen Li
  • Jing Chen


Methylation of formaldehyde with various aromatics under functional ionic liquids catalysis has been developed. Among the ionic liquids investigated, triphenyl-(4-sulfobutyl)-phosphonium triflate ([TTPBs][CF3SO3]) showed high activity and afforded excellent yields of diarylmethane derivatives. A mechanism for the catalytic performance of [TTPBs][CF3SO3] is proposed. Besides, the catalyst can simply be separated from the reaction mixture by centrifugation and be recycled ten times without noticeable loss of activity.

Graphical Abstract

Diarylmethane derivatives were successfully synthesized from the methylation of formaldehyde with aromatics using efficient and recyclable functional ionic liquids as catalysts, excellent yields and selectivities were obtained under solvent free conditions. The catalyst was reused at least ten consecutive recycles without noticeable loss in its catalytic activity. Meanwhile, the usability of catalyst was explored.


Formaldehyde Methylation Diarylmethane Ionic liquids 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project No. 21473225 and 21133011).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Oxo Synthesis and Selective Oxidation, Lanzhou Institute of Chemical PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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