Mechanistic Impacts of Metal Site and Solvent Identities for Alkene Oxidation over Carboxylate Fe and Cr Metal-Organic Frameworks

Rachel A. Yang, Michele L. Sarazen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Isolated Fe(III) and Cr(III) sites contained in nanoporous voids of isoreticular carboxylate MIL-101(Fe) and MIL-101(Cr) are interrogated for their reactivity and selectivity of liquid-phase styrene oxidation by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Batch kinetic measurements in acetonitrile (MeCN) at 323 K showcase that both metal-normalized oxygenate production and H2O2consumption rates are O(101) higher for MIL-101(Fe) than MIL-101(Cr). Thermodynamically consistent reaction pathways, constructed through spiking experiments, reveal complex interconnectivities between primary (styrene oxide, benzaldehyde) and secondary (styrene glycol, benzoic acid, phenylacetaldehyde) oxygenates. Though benzaldehyde is the majority product for both MIL-101(Fe) and MIL-101(Cr), isoconversion (Xstyrene= 7%) product distributions suggest intrinsic differences in preferred reaction pathways. Apparent energy barriers for all pathways are lower over MIL-101(Fe) than for MIL-101(Cr), conferred by metal electron affinity differences for primary oxygenate selectivity, while secondary (inter)conversion rates trend with acid site densities. Fitted rate laws, radical trapping, adsorption experiments, and complementary DFT calculations indicate surface-mediated reactions by H2O2-derived surface species that outcompete bound styrene, product oxygenate, solvent, and water molecules for both MIL-101(Fe) and MIL-101(Cr) in MeCN. Extracted enthalpic and entropic effects from temperature-dependent experiments (318-328 K) in MeCN and MeOH showcase the ability of hydrogen bonding solvents in locally hydrophilic environments to selectively stabilize primary oxygenate transition states and indicate additional confinement effects from microporous substructures in MIL-101(Fe) and MIL-101(Cr). Simplified rate expressions are expanded to encompass first-order catalyst deactivation rates through temporal metal leaching experiments and assert that metal leaching dominates MIL-101(Cr) catalyst inefficiencies, while a combination of metal leaching and other (ir)reversible site changes are present for MIL-101(Fe). Overall, this work combines kinetic, spectroscopic, numerical, and computational approaches to rigorously define reaction and deactivation mechanisms for styrene oxidation by H2O2over isoreticular MIL-101(Fe) and MIL-101(Cr).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14476-14491
Number of pages16
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


  • alkene
  • chromium
  • deactivation
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • iron
  • mechanism
  • metal-organic framework catalysis
  • oxidation


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