A simple synthesis pathway has been developed for the design of hierarchically structured spongy or spherical voids assembled meso-macroporous aluminosilicates with high tetrahedral aluminium content on the basis of the aqueous polymerisation of new stabilized alkoxy-bridged single molecular precursors. The intimate mixing of an aluminosilicate ester (sec-BuO) -Al-O-Si(OEt) and a silica co-reactant (tetramethoxysilane, TMOS) with variable ratios and the use of alkaline solutions (pH 13.0 and 13.5) improve significantly the heterocondensation rates between the highly reactive aluminium alkoxide part of the single precursor and added silica co-reactant, leading to aluminosilicate materials with high intra-framework aluminium content and low Si/Al ratios. The spherically-shaped meso-macroporosity was spontaneously generated by the release of high amount of liquid by-products (water/alcohol molecules) produced during the rapid hydrolysis and condensation processes of this double alkoxide and the TMOS co-reactant. It has been observed that both pH value and Al-Si/TMOS molar ratio can strongly affect the macroporous structure formation. Increasing pH value, even slightly from 13 to 13.5, can significantly favour the incorporation of Al atoms in tetrahedral position of the framework. After the total ionic exchange of Na compensating cations, catalytic tests of obtained materials were realised in the esterification reaction of high free fatty acid (FFA) oils, showing their higher catalytic activity compared to commercial Bentonite clay, and their potential applications as catalyst supports in acid catalysed reactions.
Lemaire, A., Wang, Q-Y., Wei, Y., Liu, Z., & Su, B-L. (2011). Hierarchically structured meso-macroporous aluminosilicates with high tetrahedral aluminium content in acid catalysed esterification of fatty acids. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 363(2), 511-520. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2011.08.017