Structure-reactivity correlations in sulphated-zirconia catalysts for the isomerisation of α-pinene

Muriel A. Ecormier, Karen Wilson, Adam F. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A range of mesoporous sulphated zirconias with tuneable structural and catalytic properties have been prepared by direct impregnation. The surface sulphate coverage can be readily varied, achieving a maximum value of ∼0.2 monolayers. High-temperature calcination induces the crystallisation of tetragonal zirconia while suppressing the monoclinic phase and enhances surface acidity. Superacid sites only appear above a critical threshold SO4 coverage of 0.08 mL (corresponding to 0.44 wt% total S). Sulphated zirconias show good activity towards α-pinene isomerisation of under mild conditions. Conversion correlates with the number Brønsted acid sites, while the selectivity towards mono- versus polycyclic products depends on the corresponding acid site strength; superacidity promotes limonene formation over camphene.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Issue number1
Early online date19 Mar 2003
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003


  • solid acid catalysts
  • clean technology
  • green chemistry
  • zirconia
  • α-pinene


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