Bi-functionalization of silica spheres with sulfonic and carboxylic groups via a co-condensation route
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Silica spheres with uniform size of 230–250 nm were functionalized with sulfonic groups and bi-functionalized with carboxylic and sulfonic groups via a co-condensation route, by adding the organosilanes (3-(triethoxysilyl)mercaptopropyl and 4-(triethoxysilyl)butyronitrile) to a pre-hydrolized TEOS solution. The conversion of mercapto and cyano groups to, respectively, sulfonic and carboxylic groups was carried out by treating both the samples with nitric acid solution. The presence of alkyl-SO3H and alkyl-COOH species at the silica surface in an approximate molar ratio of 1:1 was assessed by TG and NMR. FT-IR spectroscopy showed that both Brønsted acidic groups are accessible and give proton-transfer reaction to ammonia with the formation of ammonium ion. Sulfonic groups react irreversibly with ammonia at room temperature at variance with carboxylic groups which give a reversible proton-transfer, in agreement with the stronger Brønsted acidity of the former.
KeywordsSilica spheres Functionalization Co-condensation Brønsted acidic groups
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