Iron-substituted cubic silsesquioxane pillared clays: Synthesis, characterization and acid catalytic activity

Georgia Potsi, Athanasios K. Ladavos, Dimitrios Petrakis, Alexios P. Douvalis, Yiannis Sanakis, Marios S. Katsiotis, Georgios Papavassiliou, Saeed Alhassan, Dimitrios Gournis, Petra Rudolf

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17 Scopus citations


Novel pillared structures were developed from the intercalation of iron-substituted cubic silsesquioxanes in a sodium and an acid-activated montmorillonite nanoclay and evaluated as acid catalysts. Octameric cubic oligosiloxanes were formed upon controlled hydrolytic polycondensation of the corresponding monomer (a diamino-alkoxysilane) and reacted with iron cations to form complexes that were intercalated within the layered nanoclay matrices. Upon calcination iron oxide nanoparticles are formed which are located on the silica cubes (pillars) and on the surfaces of the clay platelets. Acid activation of the nanoclay was performed in order to increase the number of acid active sites in the pristine clay and thus increase its catalytic activity. A plethora of analytical techniques including X-ray diffraction, thermal analyses, Fourier transform infrared, electron paramagnetic resonance, Raman, Mössbauer and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopies and porosimetry measurements were used in order to follow the synthesis steps and to fully characterize the final catalysts. The resulting pillared clays exhibit a high specific area and show significant acid catalytic activity that was verified using the catalytic dehydration of isopropanol as a probe reaction.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)395-406
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2018


  • Acid activation
  • Catalysis
  • Isopropanol dehydration
  • Montmorillonite
  • Pillared clays
  • Polyhedral silsesquioxanes


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