Iron(III) and copper(II) nitrates supported on K10 montmorillonite (Clayfen and Claycop)
were prepared by impregnation. The metal nitrates were present on the support as crystalline
hydrates, which were X-ray amorphous and had good dispersion. These supported metal
nitrates were used as reagents for the oxidation of benzyl alcohol. Due to its high
Bronsted acidity the clay support catalyzes the decomposition of finely dispersed
nitrates which is the intermediate step of the chemical oxidation of the alcohol.
The oxidation activity of these supported reagents depends on the oxygen content in
the reactor gas atmosphere. Under an oxygen atmosphere metal nitrates can be used
in a quantity less then stoichiometric. When the metal nitrate content is decreased
at the surface of montmorillonite, part of the surface becomes free. In that case,
with aromatic solvents, alkylation arises as a secondary reaction.