The hydroformylation of olefins with the water soluble complex HRh(CO) [P(m-C6H4SO3Na)3]3 (1) is dependent on the solubility of the olefins in the aqueous phase. In contrast, when the aqueous solution of 1 is immobilized on a high surface area silica support the effects of the size of the olefins diminish. The immobilized catalyst 1 on silica shows significant water loss but not rhodium leaching. It is proposed that the hydrophilic support holds the water soluble phosphines by hydrogen bonding of the hydrated sodium-sulphonate groups to the surface.
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