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Crystallization of NBA-ZSM-5 from kaolin
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering. (Zeolite)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8637-0461
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Cristalización de NBA-ZSM-5 desde kaolin (Spanish)
Abstract [en]

ZSM-5 is an aluminosilicate zeolite with high Si/Al ratio with suitable properties for catalysis, ion exchange, adsorption and membrane applications. The main goal of this thesis was to study the growth of ZSM-5 zeolite crystals from inexpensive natural sources of silica and alumina, as well as n-butylamine (NBA) as a low-cost structure directing agent.

The first objective of this work was to develop pathways to synthesize ZSM-5 crystals from kaolin clay or diatomaceous earth, two inexpensive natural sources of silica and alumina (Paper I). In the case of kaolin, a heat treatment was used in order to form amorphous metakaolinite. Subsequently, dealumination of the raw materials by acid leaching made it possible to reach appropriate Si/Al ratios and to reduce the amount of impurities. Finally, leached metakaolinite or diatomaceous earth was reacted with sodium hydroxide and NBA. After synthesis optimization, both sources of aluminosilicates were found to behave differently during the course of synthesis and to lead to slightly different reaction products. The final products exhibited Si/Al ratios in the range 10-20. The use of leached diatomaceous earth allowed to reach higher yield of ZSM-5 crystals within comparable synthesis times. However, low amounts of mordenite were inevitably formed as a by-product, which was related to the high calcium content of diatomaceous earth. Therefore, the rest of the thesis focused on the kaolin system.

In order to study the growth mechanism of ZSM-5 from leached metakaolinite, a proper methodology to gain local compositional data by energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) on aluminosilicates was developed (Paper II). Zeolite A was used as a model system that could be ion-exchanged with various elements. In order to evaluate the reliability of the measurements, inductively coupled plasma-sector field mass spectrometry (ICP-SFMS) and EDS were compared. The EDS method developed in this work resulted in molar ratios very close to theoretical values and was therefore found more reliable than ICP-SFMS. Therefore, the method developed for zeolite A was applied in the rest of the thesis work to study the formation and growth of ZSM-5 crystals.

The second part of this work focused on the kaolin system in order to understand the nucleation and growth processes of the ZSM-5 crystals. This system was heterogeneous, due to the formation of a gel upon heating of the synthesis mixture. First, the internal structure of the gel was investigated (Paper III). Second, a kinetic study was performed and compared with microstructural observations (Paper IV). Finally, the mechanisms leading to Al-zoning and dendritical growth of the zeolite crystals were investigated (Paper V). The characterization of the intermediate phases during the different stages of the hydrothermal synthesis were analyzed by different analytical techniques, such as inductively coupled plasma-sector field mass spectrometry (ICP-SFMS), dynamic light scattering (DLS), extreme high resolution-scanning electron microscopy (XHR-SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), high resolution-transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and nitrogen gas adsorption.

These investigations led to several important conclusions: 1) The walls of the gel were shown for the first time to be inhomogeneous and to possess a biphasic internal structure consisting of a mesoporous skeleton of aluminosilicate nanoparticles embedded in a silicate-rich soluble matrix of soft matter. 2) The kinetic study and microstructural evidences indicated that the early crystals were fully embedded inside the gel phase and that crystal growth was retarded, as the formation of the gel occurred simultaneously with the early growth of the crystals. Hence, nucleation and growth appeared to be solution mediated.  3) Finally, the Al zoning of the crystals was related to the biphasic internal structure of the gel, since the silicate-rich matrix was preferentially consumed first. 4) The dendrites present at the surface of the crystals during most of the growth process were shown to be caused by the presence of a web of nanoparticles, most likely originating from the mesoporous skeleton inside the gel.

In the future, these findings are expected to lead to optimized synthesis pathways of catalysts with homogeneous properties and to contribute to the development of poor regions in Bolivia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2017.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
Keyword [en]
zeolite, ZSM-5, n-butylamine, crystal, raw materials
National Category
Inorganic Chemistry
Research subject
Chemical Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-63169ISBN: 978-91-7583-902-8 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7583-903-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-63169DiVA: diva2:1091512
Public defence
2017-06-20, F341, Porsön Campus, Luleå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-05 Created: 2017-04-26 Last updated: 2017-05-05Bibliographically approved

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