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ChemSusChem. 2015 Feb;8(3):534-43. doi: 10.1002/cssc.201402928. Epub 2014 Dec 12.

Synergistic effect between defect sites and functional groups on the hydrolysis of cellulose over activated carbon.

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School of Chemical&Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 311 Ferst Dr., NW, Atlanta, GA, 30332 (USA).


The chemical oxidation of activated carbon by H2 O2 and H2 SO4 is investigated, structural and chemical modifications are characterized, and the materials are used as catalysts for the hydrolysis of cellulose. Treatment with H2 O2 enlarges the pore size and imparts functional groups such as phenols, lactones, and carboxylic acids. H2 SO4 treatment targets the edges of carbon sheets primarily, and this effect is more pronounced with a higher temperature. Adsorption isotherms demonstrate that the adsorption of oligomers on functionalized carbon is dominated by van der Waals forces. The materials treated chemically are active for the hydrolysis of cellulose despite the relative weakness of most of their acid sites. It is proposed that a synergistic effect between defect sites and functional groups enhances the activity by inducing a conformational change in the glucan chains if they are adsorbed at defect sites. This activates the glycosidic bonds for hydrolysis by in-plane functional groups.


acidity; biomass; carbon; hydrolysis; oxidation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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