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A direct route to organosilicon compounds

By Tetsuo Satoh |

Researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST; Tsukuba City, Japan; www.aist.go.jp), with support from New Energy and Industry Technology Development Org. (NEDO; Kawasaki City; Japan; www.nedo.go.jp) have developed a technology to efficiently synthesize tetra-alkoxy-silane — a promising raw material for organosilicon compounds, such as silicone. Such materials are used in automobiles and solar cells. Unlike alternative routes, which either use a metallic-silicon intermediate, or an expensive dialkyl carbonate, the new synthesis process uses inexpensive raw materials (silica and alcohol). High temperatures are also avoided, making the new process a low-cost, energy-saving alternative to traditional methods, says AIST. AISTs reaction process uses an organic dehydrating agent, which enables a direct, one-step synthesis of alkoxy-silane from silica and an alcohol. Removing the water byproduct during the reaction suppresses the reverse reaction. For example, an 18% yield is achieved after 24 h in the reaction of silica (99.7+%, 75–150-µm dia. particles) and methanol at 242°C using acetone dimethyl acetal as the dehydrating agent. Without the agent, a yield of less than…
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