Reaction of 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene (TrMB) and methanol was investigated using montmorillonite catalysts pillared by aluminium hydroxyl complexes (Al-mont) in comparison with H-Y and H-mordenite zeolites. It was found that Al-mont catalysts were activated by water produced from methanol but deactivation of catalysts was accelerated by the presence of methanol. The yield and the fraction of 1,2,4,5-tetramethylbenzene (TeMB) produced from the reaction of 1,2,4-TrMB and methanol on Al-monts were greater than those on H-Y because of the difference in microporous structure. The fraction of 1,2,4,5-TeMB decreased with increasing 1,2,4-TrMB conversion in the absence of methanol but it was suppressed in the presence of methanol, which retarded the isomerization of 1,2,4,5-TeMB on all catalysts. On Al-mont catalysts the fraction of 1,2,4,5-TeMB increased with increasing methanol content in the feed but H-Y catalyst did not show a similar effect of methanol content.
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