Epoxide ring-opening reactions with mesoporous silica-supported Fe(III) catalysts

Sayantani Das, Tewodros Asefa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


A mesoporous silica-supported iron(III) catalyst was successfully synthesized by tethering ethylenediamine ligands onto the mesopore channel walls of mesoporous silica and then using the diamine groups to support Fe(III) ions. The resulting material is shown to be an efficient catalyst for the ring-opening of various epoxides by a series of alcohols as well as water under mild reaction conditions giving good-to-high yields of the corresponding ring-opened products. Among the alcohols tested with styrene oxide substrate giving 2-alkoxy-2-phenylethanol products, MeOH was the most reactive. It gave the highest percent conversion and yield (∼100%) within a relatively short reaction time of 6 h, whereas the longer alkyl alcohols gave a relatively lower yield of 93 to ∼100% with longer reaction times of 9-56 h. When the alkyl groups of the linear alkyl alcohols were longer, the rates of the catalytic reaction were slower. For instance, EtOH gave ∼100% yield in 9 h, but n-PrOH produced 93% product in 45 h. Substituted alkyl alcohols produced only 9-62% product in even longer reaction times of 72-144 h, with the more substituted alcohols giving the slower reaction rates. The catalyst was also shown to ring-open other epoxides, such as chloropropylene oxide and 2-methyl-1,2- epoxypropane. The chloropropylene oxide was found to react much more slowly than the 2-methyl-1,2-epoxypropane, whereas the 2-methyl-1,2-epoxypropane underwent catalytic reaction slightly more slowly than styrene oxide in the presence of the catalyst under the same reaction conditions. The catalyst was shown to be reusable multiple times without leaching of the Fe(III) ions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-510
Number of pages9
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 6 2011


  • epoxides
  • mesoporous catalysts
  • nanoporous catalysts
  • ring-opening reactions
  • supported iron catalyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)

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