Porosity development of mesostructured colloidal silica nanoparticles is related to the removal of the organic templates and co-templates which is often carried out by calcination at high temperatures, 500-600 °C. In this study a mild detemplation method based on the oxidative Fenton chemistry has been investigated. The Fenton reaction involves the generation of OH radicals following a redox Fe3+/Fe2+ cycle that is used as catalyst and H2O2 as oxidant source. Improved material properties are anticipated since the Fenton chemistry comprises milder conditions than calcination. However, the general application of this methodology is not straightforward due to limitations in the hydrothermal stability of the particular system under study. The objective of this work is three-fold: 1) reducing the residual Fe in the resulting solid as this can be detrimental for the application of the material, 2) shortening the reaction time by optimizing the reaction temperature to minimize possible particle agglomeration, and finally 3) investigating the structural and textural properties of the resulting material in comparison to the calcined counterparts. It appears that the Fenton detemplation can be optimized by shortening the reaction time significantly at low Fe concentration. The milder conditions of detemplation give rise to enhanced properties in terms of surface area, pore volume, structural preservation, low Fe residue and high degree of surface hydroxylation; the colloidal particles are stable during storage. A relative particle size increase, expressed as 0.11%·h-1, has been determined.
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- colloidal mesoporous silica nanoparticles
- Fenton chemistry
- friendly template removal