Characterization and catalytic applications of silver nanoparticles supported on hierarchically porous SiO_2 and Co_3O_4 monoliths
Hierarchically porous materials are of great interest in such applications as catalysis, drug delivery, chromatography, and electrochemical sensor arrays due to properties such as high surface area, large void volume, and tunable surface chemistry. In this study, we give the detailed report of the synthesis of supported Ag nanoparticles by nanocasting on to hierarchically porous SiO2 (silica) and Co3O4 (cobalt oxide) monoliths, as well as the use of these materials as heterogeneous catalysts for the hydrogenation and oxidation reactions. In the preliminary work, we investigated the synthesis of Ag supported on hierarchically porous SiO2 and Co3O4 monoliths, and the catalytic activity of these monoliths for the hydrogenation of MB (methylene blue) and MO (methyl orange) dyes in the presence of NaBH4 (sodium borohydride). The SiO2 monoliths were synthesized using a sol-gel technique. The Co3O4 monoliths were prepared by nanocasting, using the SiO2 monoliths as a template. The loading of Ag nanoparticles on the SiO2 and Co3O4 monoliths was done by a solution infiltration method using aqueous AgNO3 (silver nitrate) solution followed by reduction with ethylene glycol and hydrazine hydrate. Such monoliths also were used as continuous flow monolithic microreactors for the catalytic activity and stability studies for the hydrogenation of EO (eosin-Y) dye in the presence of NaBH4. Finally, the use of these monoliths for the oxidation of cyclohexene was investigated including the effects of temperature, oxidant, catalyst loading, and substrate to oxidant ratio. All these studies are presented in different sections depending on the different synthesis, procedures, and catalytic activity occurring in each heterogeneous catalyst.