Propylsulfonic-acid functionalized mesoporous phenylene-silicas have potential use in catalysis and applications demanding protonic conduction such as fuel cells. Their synthesis by conventional co-condensation is time consuming and with poor control of the incorporation of sulfonic acid. Here we report a fast, microwave-assisted synthetic route to prepare these materials with controlled acid load and structural order. It is found that the microwave energy strongly improves the kinetics of the various steps of the process, including the self-assembly of precursors (stirring), consolidation of the framework (hydrothermal treatment), surfactant extraction and the oxidation of the thiol to the sulfonic acid group. The concentration of incorporated acid groups increases linearly with the self-assembly time under microwave radiation, enabling the largest improvement of all synthetic steps. However, the mesopore order decreases significantly for microwave-assisted self-assemblies in excess of 6 h, and for microwave-assisted hydrothermal treatments longer than 3 h. The multivariate analysis of kinetic data is presented and used to derive kinetic parameters enabling the prediction of the acid load and the structural order of the materials as a function of the synthesis time under microwave radiation. For similar acid contents, full microwave synthesis is completed within 12 h, whereas nearly 84 h are needed with conventional heating sources. The protonic conductivity increases linearly with increasing acid load regardless of the used combination of synthetic steps, including MW or not. This is seen as a confirmation that the distribution of the acid groups in the pore surface is not affected by MW.
- Microwave assisted
- Periodic mesoporous organosilicas
- Propylsulfonic acid functionalized PMO
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanics of Materials