Synthesis of Uniform Mesoporous Zeolite ZSM-5 Catalyst

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chemengineering Article Synthesis of Uniform Mesoporous Zeolite ZSM-5 Catalyst for Friedel-Crafts Acylation Heman A. Smail 1, Mohammad Rehan 2 , Kafia M. Shareef 3, Zainab Ramli 4, Abdul-Sattar Nizami 2 and Jabbar Gardy 1,5,* 1 2 3 4 5 Received: 4 March 2019; Accepted: 31 March 2019; Published: 4 April 2019 Department of Chemistry, College of Science, Salahadin University-Hawler, Erbil 44002, Kurdistan Region, Iraq; heman.smail@su.edu.krd Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia; dr.mohammad_rehan@yahoo.co.uk (M.R.); nizami_pk@yahoo.com (A.-S.N.) Department of Nursing, Ishik University, 100 Meter Campus, Erbil 44001, Kurdistan Region, Iraq; kafia.mawlood@ishik.edu.iq Departments of Chemistry, College of Science, Universiti Technologi Malaysia (UTM), UTM Skudai 81310, Johor, Malaysia; zainab@kimia.fs.utm.my School of Chemical and Process Engineering (SCAPE), University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK * Correspondence: jabbar.gardy@su.edu.krd or j.gardy@leeds.ac.uk; Tel.: +96-4750-7608-855 Abstract: This work highlights how the treatment of ZSM-5 (parent Zeolite Socony Mobil–5, Si/Al = 23) with different surfactant templates and alkaline solution, improved the catalytic performance in the Friedel-Crafts acylation of anisole with a propionic anhydride to obtain p-methoxypropiophenone. The modified microporous to mesoporous zeolite catalysts were characterized using different analytical techniques, including X-ray diffraction (XRD), nitrogen porosimetry, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), temperature-programmed desorption (ammonia-TPD) and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) to analyze the crystallographic structure, surface acidity, surface area, porosity, morphology, and particle size. The results showed that the formed mesoporous zeolite by NaOH solution had smaller mesopores (ca. 3.7 nm) as compared to the mesoporous zeolites obtained by surfactant templates, such as, CTAB (ca. 14.9 nm), TPAOH (ca. 11.1 nm) and mixture of CTAB/TPAOH (ca. 15.2 nm). The catalytic acylation reaction was conducted in a batch glass reactor at various temperatures and the products were analyzed using off-line gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). It was found that the activity of treated ZSM-5 with mixed surfactant templates (CTAB/TPAOH) exhibited enhanced selectivity towards the main product (p-methoxypropiophenone) by a factor 1.7 or higher than unmodified ZSM-5 due to its increased surface area by 1.5 times and enhanced acid sites. Keywords: ZSM-5; mesoporous zeolite; Friedel-Crafts acylation; modification of ZSM-5; anisole 1. Introduction The Friedel-Crafts acylation is one of the most vital organic reactions in the preparation of substituted aromatic ketones in pharmaceutical, fragrance, cosmetics and agrochemical industries. Catalysts such as strong mineral acids (H2SO4 and HF) and metal halides (and FeCl3 and AlCl3) have been used in the conventional acylation method [1]. The overall process produces a high amount of hazardous waste which is difficult to separate from the product. Because of the disadvantages, the use of recyclable and environment-friendly solid acid catalysts, such as zeolite, is desirable. This is to minimize economic and environmental problems [2]. Zeolite can be used as a catalyst in the Friedel-Crafts acylation reaction. The electrophilic acylation of anisole (methoxybenzene) with phenyl 􏰁􏰂􏰃 􏰅􏰆􏰇 􏰈􏰉􏰊􏰋􏰌􏰂􏰍 ChemEngineering 2019, 3, 35; doi:10.3390/chemengineering3020035 www.mdpi.com/journal/chemengineering

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