skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Mechanisms of Selective Cleavage of C-O Bonds in Di-aryl Ethers in Aqueous Phase

A novel route for cleaving the C-O aryl ether bonds of p-substituted H-, CH3-, and OH- diphenyl ethers has been explored over Ni/SiO2 catalysts at very mild conditions. The C-O bond of diphenyl ether is cleaved by parallel hydrogenolysis and hydrolysis (hydrogenolysis combined with HO* addition) on Ni. The rates as a function of H2 pressure from 0 to 10 MPa indicate that the rate-determining step is the C-O bond cleavage on Ni. H* atoms compete with the organic reactant for adsorption leading to a maximum in the rate with increasing H2 pressure. In contrast to diphenyl ether, hydrogenolysis is the exclusive route for cleaving an ether C-O bond of di-p-tolyl ether to form p-cresol and toluene. 4,4'-dihydroxydiphenyl ether undergoes sequential surface hydrogenolysis, first to phenol and HOC6H4O* (adsorbed), which is then cleaved to phenol (C6H5O* with added H*) and H2O (O* with two added H*) in a second step. Density function theory supports the operation of this pathway. Notably, addition of H* to HOC6H4O* is less favorable than a further hydrogenolytic C-O bond cleavage. The TOFs of three aryl ethers with Ni/SiO2 in water followed the order 4,4'-dihydroxydiphenyl ether (69 h-1) > diphenyl ether (26 h-1) > di-p-tolyl ethermore » (1.3 h-1), in line with the increasing apparent activation energies, ranging from 93 kJ∙mol-1 (4,4'-dihydroxydiphenyl ether) < diphenyl ether (98 kJ∙mol-1) to di-p-tolyl ether (105 kJ∙mol-1). D.M. thanks the support from the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences & Biosciences. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is a multiprogram national laboratory operated for DOE by Battelle. Computing time was granted by the grand challenge of computational catalysis of the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) and by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC). EMSL is a national scientific user facility located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and sponsored by DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research.« less
; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47408; KC0302010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Catalysis, 309:280-290
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Lignin dimer; DFT calculation; Selective C−O cleavage; Aqueous phase reaction; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory