Nanocarbon-based catalysts for esterification: Effect of carbon dimensionality and synergistic effect of the surface functional groups

Honglei Zhang, Xiang Luo, Kaiqi Shi, Tao Wu, Feng He, Hangqi Yang, Shanshan Zhang, Chuang Peng

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Carbon-based solid acid catalysts represented outstanding hydrothermal and mechanical properties but lower catalytic performances and stabilities. Therefore, more comprehensive investigations should be conducted to optimize their catalytic performances. The correlations between catalytic performance, carbon dimensionality and composition of oxygen-containing functional groups of nanocarbon-based catalysts were investigated. The dimensionality of carbon materials had notable effect on the catalytic reactivity and the layered 2-D structure could maximize the solid/liquid interface and minimize the mass transfer resistance and thus favor the catalytic esterification. GO-50, prepared with 50 mL concentrated H 2 SO 4 , exhibited outstanding catalytic activity and had 3 times higher turnover frequency (TOF) value than that of H 2 SO 4 . In GO-50, the -SO 3 H groups were identified as the primary catalytic active sites, while the carboxyl groups enhanced the inherent activity of -SO 3 H, thus facilitating the esterification. The -COOH/-SO 3 H molar ratio played significant roles and desirable -COOH/-SO 3 H molar ratio would promote esterification significantly. The esterification kinetics catalyzed by GO-50 was studied and the apparent activation energy of esterification by GO-50 is 1.5 times lower than that by H 2 SO 4 . The esterification mechanism by GO-50 was also proposed. Furthermore, GO-50/Poly (ether sulfones) (PES) membrane was prepared and employed in esterification and the optimal reaction conditions were systematically studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-145
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Carbon-based solid acid catalyst
  • Catalytic activity
  • Esterification
  • Graphene oxide
  • Reaction kinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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