Preparation, structure and catalytic properties of magnetically separable Cu-Fe catalysts for glycerol hydrogenolysis

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The Cu-Fe catalysts with stoichiometric proportion (Cu/Fe molar ratio was 0.5) were prepared by an epoxide assisted route. The structural properties of Cu-Fe catalysts were determined by X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Mössbauer spectroscopy measurements. These results indicated that a crystalline phase transformation from c-CuFe 2O 4 to t-CuFe 2O 4 occurred when elevating the calcination temperature from 500 to 600 °C. The M-H plots exhibited that all Cu-Fe catalysts had ferromagnetic nature and the saturation magnetization values monotonously increased with increasing calcination temperature irrespective of the phases composition. The significant superparamagnetic behavior was observed in the results of magnetic and Mössbauer spectroscopy measurements. The H 2 temperature-programmed reduction (H 2-TPR) was also conducted for examining the reducibility of Cu-Fe catalysts. The catalytic performance of Cu-Fe catalysts was examined for the hydrogenolysis reaction of glycerol. It is found that the formation of spinel CuFe 2O 4 greatly enhances the hydrogenolysis activity. The highest glycerol conversion (47%) was obtained over CuFe-500 catalyst, while the selectivity of 1,2-propanediol was maintained at about 92% for all catalysts. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2012.

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Journal of Materials Chemistry