One-day course
Prof. Benny K.G. Theng. Honorary Research Associate with Landcare Research, New Zealand.
Dr Benny K.G. Theng has been a Research Associate with Landcare Research in Palmerston North, New Zealand, since 2001. For many years before that he was a scientist with the New Zealand Soil Bureau, DSIR. Born in Indonesia, he won a Colombo Plan scholarship to study at the University of Adelaide, Australia, obtaining his PhD degree in 1965. He has worked as a research fellow and visiting scientist in Australia, Belgium, Chile, China, France, Germany, and Japan. His research has focused on the behaviour of organic molecules and polymers at clay mineral surfaces. He has written or edited a number of books. His latest one “Formation and Properties of Clay-Polymer Complexes, 2nd Edition” was published by Elsevier, Amsterdam in 2012. In 1989 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and in 1995 he was elected Fellow of the New Zealand Society of Soil Science. In 2004 he received the Marilyn and Sturges W. Bailey Distinguished Member Award from the Clay Minerals Society (USA). He enjoys reading historical books, playing bridge, and listening to chamber music.
Course Synopsis:
Because of their fine particle size, extensive surface area, layer structure, and peculiar charge characteristics, clay minerals have a large propensity for taking up organic molecules. What is not generally appreciated, however, is that clays can also serve as solid acid catalysts in numerous organic reactions and syntheses. Layer silicates, especially smectites, are attractive as catalysts and catalyst supports because they are abundant, inexpensive, non-corrosive, and non-polluting. More importantly, they are easy to separate from the reaction mixture and reusable. Further, layer silicates offer a reduced ‘dimensionality’ of reaction space which is conducive to catalysis. The catalytic activity of clays and clay minerals, as already indicated, is intimately related to their ability to act as solid acids in either the Brønsted or Lewis sense. This inherent surface acidity can be enhanced and entrenched by treatment with mineral acids to yield acidic mesoporous materials of high catalytic activity. Similarly, intercalation of polyvalent hydroxy-metal cations by ion exchange, and subsequent calcination, produce catalytically active ‘pillared interlayered clays’ that are useful in shape-selective catalysis. Smectites and their acid-treated derivatives have been used as supports of catalytically active reagents, including metal salts, metal-organic complexes, metal nanoparticles, and heteropoly acids. These materials have also featured as catalysts for various ‘name’ and polymerization reactions, while organically modified smectites have served as components in the manufacture of polymer nanocomposites.

  • Clays and Clay Minerals
  • Surface Acidity and Catalysis
  • Surface Modifications and Catalytic Activity
  • Clay-supported Reagents and Catalysts
  • Clay-catalyzed “Name” Reactions and Conversions
  • Clay-catalyzed polymerizations and Clay-Polymer Nanocomposites

 Course Venue:
Parque de las Ciencias
Av. de la Ciencia, s/n, 18006 Granada
Date: Wednesday 19th July
Participants: Students and scientist up to 99 years old
Registration fee: 250 €. This fee does not include accommodation and/or meals.
If you are interested in taking this course please fill this form and send it to secretariat ([email protected])
* A minimum of 16 participants are required for this course. In case this amount is not reached we will give the registration fee back.