Nanostructured carbon-metal oxide hybrids as amphiphilic emulsion catalysts

M. Pilar Ruiz, Jimmy Faria, Min Shen, Santiago Drexler, Teerawit Prasomsri, Daniel E. Resasco*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Nanohybrids composed of "onion-like" carbon, single-walled (SWCNTs) or multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) fused to silica or alumina particles have been compared as stabilizers of water/oil emulsions and interfacial catalysts. The amphiphilic character of these nanohybrids makes them effective in stabilizing emulsions (up to 85 % of total volume) comprising of small droplets (less than 40μm). Furthermore, these nanohybrids have been used as supports for transition metal particles (palladium and copper) to catalyze reactions at the water/oil interface. Three different reaction systems have been conducted in the emulsions to demonstrate the principle: 1)hydrogenation of phenanthrene; 2)hydrogenation of glutaraldehyde and benzaldehyde; 3)oxidation of tetralin. Comparison of the maximum conversions achieved in emulsions as opposed to the single phase, together with much better control of selectivity in the two-phase system shows the benefits of using these nanohybrid catalysts. The amphiphilic character of nanostructured carbon supported on metal oxides favors the stabilization of emulsions. At the same time these nanohybrid nanoparticles act as a support for active species to catalyze reactions at the water/oil interface. The conversion and selectivity of these reactions are strongly influenced by the intrinsic properties of the nanohybrids to both stabilize emulsions and anchor the catalytic species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964-974
Number of pages11
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • carbon nanotubes
  • hydrogenation
  • nanoparticles
  • oxidation
  • supported catalysts


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