The ketonization of small organic acids is a valuable reaction for biorenewable applications. Ceria has long been used as a catalyst for this reaction; however, under both liquid and vapor phase conditions, it was found that given the right temperature regime of about 150-300 °C, cerium oxide, which was previously believed to be a stable catalyst for ketonization, can undergo bulk transformations. This result, along with other literature reports, suggest that the long held belief of two separate reaction pathways for either bulk or surface ketonization reactions are not required to explain the interaction of cerium oxide with organic acids. X-ray photon spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and temperature programmed decomposition results supported the formation of metal acetates and explained the occurrence of cerium reduction as well as the formation of cerium oxide/acetate whiskers. After thermogravimetry/mass spectrometry and FT-IR experiments, a single reaction sequence is proposed that can be applied to either surface or bulk reactions with ceria.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/brent_shanks/3/