Cyclohexanone is an important industrial intermediate in the synthesis of materials such as nylons, but preparing it efficiently through one-step hydrogenation of phenol is hindered by over-reduction to cyclohexanol. Using an efficient catalyst can enhance the selectivity of cyclohexanone at high phenol conversion. In this study, catalysts comprised of palladium nanoparticles supported on electrospun PVDF-HFP (polyvinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) nanofibers were prepared using the electrospinning technique. The catalysts were characterized using thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscope (TEM), and drop shape analyzer (DSA). The prepared catalysts were used to hydrogenate phenol into cyclohexanone in a batch reactor. The Pd/PVDF-HFP catalyst showed a very high product selectivity and high phenol conversion. The conversion of phenol achieved was 98% with 97% cyclohexanone selectivity in 7 h using 15 wt% of palladium (0.0021 moles) relative to phenol (0.0159 moles). The turnover number (TON) and turnover frequency (TOF) values calculated were 7.38 and 1.05 h−1
, respectively. This paper presents original research in heterogeneous catalysis using novel electrospun nanofibers. Multiphase hydrogenation of phenol to cyclohexanone over electrospun Pd/PVDF-HFP catalyst has not been reported by any researcher in the literature. This work will also provide a research window for the application of electrospun polymeric nanofibers in multiphase reactions.
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