The polystyrene (PS) spheres having dual functional groups were synthesized using emulsifier-free emulsion polymerization based on St/potassium persulfate/water system in the presence of V-50 as co-initiator. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) confirms the presence of the sulfate and the amino groups on the surfaces of PS spheres. Transmission electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectra revealed that the PS spheres were successfully deposited with catalytic palladium (Pd) or gold (Au) nanoparticles (NPs). The reduction of 4-nitroaniline to 4-phenylenediamine used as a model reaction was performed for catalysis studies and examined by ultraviolet. It was found that both Au and Pd PS dispersions show high catalytic activity. The Pd PS dispersion of 200 μl with only Pd content of 1.09 wt.% exhibits an excellent catalytic effect superior to the commercial Pd/C catalyst, i.e., less than 35 s taken for the completion of the reduction of 4-nitroaniline.
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