Magnetically-separable Fe3O4@SiO2@SO4-ZrO2 core-shell nanoparticle catalysts for propanoic acid esterification

Zhijun Tai, Mark Isaacs, Lee Durndell, Christopher Parlett, Adam Lee, Karen Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monodispersed, sulfated zirconia encapsulated magnetite nanoparticles were synthesized as magnetically-separable solid acid catalysts. Catalyst nanoparticles are prepared via coating preformed 80 nm Fe2O3 particles with a 15 nm SiO2 protective coating prior to growth of a uniform 28 nm ZrO2 shell. The thickness of the ZrO2 shell in resulting Fe3O4@SiO2@ZrO2 nanoparticles was controlled by adjusting the zirconium butoxide to Lutensol AO5 ratio, with 1:10 found as the optimal ratio to produce monodispersed ZrO2 coated nano-spheres. Sulfation using an ammonium sulfate precursor is less corrosive towards the core-shell structure of Fe3O4@SiO2@ZrO2 nanoparticles leading to superior sulfated materials compared to those obtained using H2SO4. Resulting Fe3O4@SiO2@SO4-ZrO2 solid acid catalysts exhibit high activity for propanoic acid esterification with methanol, far exceeding that of conventional sulfated zirconia nanoparticles, while being amenable to facile magnetic separation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-141
JournalMolecular Catalysis
Early online date20 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


Dive into the research topics of 'Magnetically-separable Fe3O4@SiO2@SO4-ZrO2 core-shell nanoparticle catalysts for propanoic acid esterification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this