The Role of Mg(OH)2 in the So-Called “Base-Free” Oxidation of Glycerol with AuPd Catalysts

Jile Fu, Qian He, Peter J. Miedziak, Gemma L. Brett, Xiaoyang Huang, Samuel Pattisson, Mark Douthwaite, Graham J. Hutchings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Mg(OH)2- and Mg(OH)2-containing materials can provide excellent performance as supports for AuPd nanoparticles for the oxidation of glycerol in the absence of base, which is considered to be a result of additional basic sites on the surface of the support. However, its influence on the reaction solution is not generally discussed. In this paper, we examine the relationship between the basic Mg(OH)2 support and AuPd nanoparticles in detail using four types of catalyst. For these reactions, the physical interaction between Mg(OH)2 and AuPd was adjusted. It was found that the activity of the AuPd nanoparticles increased with the amount of Mg(OH)2 added under base-free conditions, regardless of its interaction with the noble metals. In order to investigate how Mg(OH)2 affected the glycerol oxidation, detailed information about the performance of AuPd/Mg(OH)2, physically mixed (AuPd/C+Mg(OH)2) and (AuPd/C+NaHCO3) was obtained and compared. Furthermore, NaOH and Mg(OH)2 were added during the reaction using AuPd/C. All these results indicate that the distinctive and outstanding performance of Mg(OH)2 supported catalysts in base-free condition is in fact directly related to its ability to affect the pH during the reaction and as such, assists with the initial activation of the primary alcohol, which is considered to be the rate determining step in the reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2396-2402
Number of pages7
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • base-free
  • gold
  • magnesium
  • nanoparticles
  • oxidation


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