Acta Physico-Chimica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (1): 1904066.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB201904066

Special Issue: Special Issue in Honor of Academician Youqi Tang on the Occasion of His 100th Birthday

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Swelling Characteristics of g-C3N4 as Base Catalyst in Liquid-Phase Reaction

Jiequn Wu,Weiming Hua,Yinghong Yue*(),Zi Gao   

  • Received:2019-04-17 Accepted:2019-05-22 Published:2019-05-24
  • Contact: Yinghong Yue
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(91645201);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21273043);the National Key R&D Program of China(2017YFB0602204);the Science & Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, China(13DZ2275200)


Graphitic carbon nitrides (g-C3N4) with different surface areas were prepared by pyrolysis using different precursors including melamine, dicyandiamide, thiourea and urea, and subsequently characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectra (FTIR), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) and N2 adsorption. Their basicities were measured by temperature-programmed desorption of CO2 (CO2-TPD) and acid-base titration. The catalytic properties for the Knoevenagel condensation of benzaldehyde and malononitrile were investigated in various solvents. In non-polar toluene solution, the benzaldehyde conversions of the g-C3N4 catalysts were low and changed according to their respective surface areas and basicities. However, in polar ethanol solution, the benzaldehyde conversions of all catalysts were similar, and much higher than those in toluene. This could not be explained by the results obtained from either of the two conventional basicity measurements. Further experimental results proved that g-C3N4 catalysts swelled in polar solutions, and more basic sites were exposed on the surface of the swollen catalysts, leading to the imminent increase in catalytic activity. This was proved by the catalyst poisoning data, which showed that the g-C3N4 catalyst lost its activity completely in toluene by adding 40.9 mmol·g-1 benzoic acid, while the same catalyst was still active in ethanol until the added amount exceeded 143.3 m·g-1. Additionally, the reaction tests in various solutions showed that the swelling effect was enhanced according to the polarity of the solvent used. A similar conclusion could be reached for the Knoevenagel condensation of furfural and malononitrile in various solvents. The reusability of g-C3N4 catalyst in Knoevenagel condensation was also studied, which showed that g-C3N4 was stable in liquid-phase reactions, whose activity dropped from 74.2% to 63.8% after three regeneration processes.

Key words: g-C3N4, Base catalysis, Knoevenagel condensation, Swelling effect


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