Catalytic oxidation of thioanisole using oxovanadium(IV)-functionalized electrospun polybenzimidazole nanofibers



Polybenzimidazole fibers, with an average diameter of 262 nm, were produced by the process of electrospinning. These fibers were used as a solid support material for the immobilization of oxovanadium(IV) which was achieved via a reaction with vanadyl sulfate. The oxovanadium(IV)-functionalized nanofibers were used as heterogeneous catalysts for the oxidation of thioanisole under both batch and pseudo-continuous flow conditions with great success. Under batch conditions near quantitative oxidation of thioanisole was achieved in under 90 min, even after four successive catalytic reactions. Under continuous conditions, excellent conversion of thioanisole was maintained throughout the period studied at flow rates of up to 2 mLh−1. This study, therefore, proposes that electrospun polybenzimidazole nanofibers, with their small diameters, impressive chemical and thermal stability, as well as coordinating benzimidazole group, may be a desirable support material for immobilization of homogeneous catalysts. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013