Aluminium-iron-pillared bentonite has been prepared by incorporation of the iron mixed aluminium-polyoxocation into bentonite layers and characterized by the powder X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared, thermal analysis and surface area measurement techniques. The characteristic d(001) basal spacing of raw bentonite increased with the pillaring process and reached to 18.05 angstrom. The siloxane layers of bentonite were perturbed and the positions of Si-O stretching vibrations were altered by pillaring process. However, these pillars in the interlayer gallery spacing enhanced the thermal stability of bentonite. The new rnicropores were formed by the pillaring process and the specific surface area of raw bentonite increased by ca. 2-fold for aluminium iron-pillared bentonite. FTIR spectra and thermal analysis curves of pyridine adsorbed samples clearly show that the surface Lewis acidity of aluminium iron-pillared bentonite is greater than that of raw bentonite. Raw and aluminium iron-pillared bentonites have been utilized as solid catalysts for benzoylation of benzene with benzoyl chloride. The aluminium iron-pillared bentonite catalyst showed promising catalytic activity whereas raw bentonite showed no catalytic activity in benzoylation of benzene with benzoyl chloride. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.