Some silica- and polystyrene-supported sulfonic acids, prepared by tethering or sol–gel techniques, were employed as metal-free heterogeneous catalysts in the oxidation of hydroquinones to the corresponding 1,4-benzoquinones, carried out with 30% aqueous hydrogen peroxide. The activity of these catalysts was tested in the model oxidation of methylhydroquinone under batch conditions: high yield and selectivity at room temperature and under environmentally friendly conditions can be achieved in the presence of SiO2–(CH2)3–SO3H. The heterogeneous catalyst, that can be easily recovered by simply filtration, can be used for at least three cycles affording the same good results (∼80% yield, ∼91% selectivity).
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