Clay materials are an important class of natural occurring minerals whose syntheses in the lab is easily accessible. Such materials, also known as anionic clays have the capability of anion swelling making it very versatile. In addition, despite the rich intercalation chemistry that can be played with, it also shows a wide range of variations of its composition. This latter aspect is based on the versatility of the general formula [M1-x2+Mx3+(OH)2](Am-)x/m.nH2O where both M2+ and M3+ can be varied, and Am- is usually a simple anion such as Cl-, NO3- or CO32-. In its general formula, x measures the amount of M3+ relative to (M3+ + M2+), correlating with the spacing between layers.Heterogeneous catalysis is advantageous as a process itself since it allows an easy separation of the products from the catalyst in a given reaction, being therefore favored in many industrial processes.
Heterogeneous catalysis offers as a main advantage the easy recovery of the catalyst and reaction products, making it the preferred technique in most industrial applications. On the other hand, the selectivity is usually lower than that of many homogeneous systems. The design of more active and more selective heterogeneous catalysts remains a priority. The availability of a large surface is a requirement that can be provided by different kinds of materials, among which mesoporous materials (namely, the MCM family) meet many of the relevant criteria. Chiral epoxidations are of growing interest for the synthesis of chiral intermediates in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry to generate enantiomeric pure products.
Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are novel organic-inorganic crystalline materials, promising to become a powerful and flexible family for different industrial applications within catalysis, adsorption and sensor technology, overcoming many of the limitations of zeolites. The quest of the potential capabilities of MOFs for the development of new heterogeneous oxidation catalysts will be addressed within the present project. The work package of this project comprises the synthesis, suitable characterization and testing of the materials, as well as an implementation plan for their production and use in catalytic applications.