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  • 1.
    Aguilar, Wilson
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Study of the Synthesis of ZSM-5 from Inexpensive Raw Materials2014Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    ZSM-5 is an aluminosilicate with high silica ratio with suitable properties for catalysis, ion exchange, adsorption and membrane applications. ZSM-5 is usually produced industrially from concentrated systems in which there is formation of an amorphous gel phase. Typical syntheses of ZSM-5 require sources of silicon and aluminium, a mineralizer and an organic molecule as so-called templating agent. The silicon and aluminum sources widely used for the synthesis are pure reagent chemicals and in particular quaternary ammonium compounds like tetrapropyl ammonium hydroxides (TPA-OH), are employed as templating agents. Unfortunately, these compounds are rather expensive. Demand for inexpensive sources of aluminosilicates for the synthesis of ZSM-5 has increased during the last two decades. Natural raw materials such as kaolin clay and diatomaceous earth (diatomite) are two potential inexpensive sources of silica and alumina. Moreover, the molecule n-butylamine (NBA) has been reported as a low-cost templating agent to replace the quaternary ammonium compounds. The aim of this work was to show for the first time that leached metakaolinite or diatomite in combination with sodium hydroxide and n-butylamine could be used as inexpensive raw materials for the synthesis of ZSM-5 without using an additional source of silica. After synthesis optimization, both sources of aluminosilicate were found to behave differently during the course of synthesis and led to slightly different products. The chemical composition of the raw materials and the products were determined using inductively coupled plasma-sector field mass spectrometry (ICP-SFMS). Crystallinity was examined by X-ray diffractometry (XRD), the morphology was studied by extreme-high-resolution scanning electron microscopy (XHR-SEM) and the specific surface area was estimated from nitrogen adsorption data by the BET method. The chemical composition of individual crystals was determined by energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS). Dealumination of the raw materials by acid leaching made it possible to reach appropriate SiO2/Al2O3 ratios and reduced the amount of impurities. The final ZSM-5 products had a SiO2/Al2O3 ratio in the range 20 – 40. The use of leached diatomite allowed reaching higher yield of ZSM-5 crystals within comparable synthesis times. However, low amounts of mordenite were formed, which was related to the high calcium content of diatomite. Another considerable advantage of diatomite over kaolin is that diatomite does not require heat treatment at high temperature to convert the kaolin to reactive metakaolin. Further characterization of the system by XHR-SEM and EDS at low voltage was carried out in order to understand the nucleation and early growth of the ZSM-5 zeolite crystals. The observations with unprecedented detail strongly suggest that nucleation and the succeeding growth occurs on the gel surface. The growth rates in the various crystallographic directions already at an early stage are such that the shape of the growing crystals resembles that of the final crystals. However, as the early growth is interface mediated, the growth rate along the gel particles is high and the gel particles will become partially embedded inside the growing crystals at an early stage. The Si and Al nutrients are probably transported along the solid/liquid interface and possibly through the liquid in the form of nanoparticles detaching from the gel. The organic template was initially contained in the liquid. However, it remains unclear at which stage the template becomes incorporated in the solid material. EDS at low voltage was also used to gain compositional information about the sodium/calcium ion exchanged products and extraneous phases when kaolin and Bolivian montmorillonite clay were used for the synthesis of zeolite A by alkali fusion. In order to evaluate the cation exchange capacity (CEC) of the synthesized zeolite, ICP-SFMS and EDS were compared. The EDS method used in this work resulted in (Na,Ca)/Al ratios in equivalent moles very close to 1.0 as expected and was therefore found more reliable than ICP-SFMS to measure cation exchange capacity for zeolite A. To summarize, the present work shows that it was possible to synthesize well-crystallized ZSM-5 zeolite from inexpensive raw materials such as leached metakaolin or leached diatomite, sodium hydroxide and n-butyl amine. Furthermore, the crystallization mechanism evidenced in this system might be more general and also apply for other concentrated systems, e.g. those using TPA as structure-directing. Finally, this work displays that EDS at low voltage can provide valuable local compositional information in the field of zeolite synthesis.

  • 2.
    Aguilar, Wilson
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Garcia, Gustavo
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Hedlund, Jonas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Mouzon, Johanne
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Comparison between leached metakaolin and leached diatomaceous earth as raw materials for the synthesis of ZSM-52014In: SpringerPlus, E-ISSN 2193-1801, Vol. 3, no 1Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Inexpensive raw materials have been used to prepare ZSM-5 zeolites with SiO2/Al2O3 molar ratios in the range 20 - 40. Kaolin or Bolivian diatomaceous earth was used as aluminosilicate raw materials and sodium hydroxide and n-butylamine were used as mineralizing agents and template. Dealumination of the raw materials by acid leaching made it possible to reach appropriate SiO2/Al2O3 ratios and to reduce the amount of iron and other impurities. After mixing the components and aging, hydrothermal treatment was carried out and the products were recovered The results clearly show for the first time that well-crystallized ZSM-5 can be directly prepared from leached metakaolin or leached diatomaceous earth using sodium hydroxide and n-butylamine as mineralizing agents and template under appropriate synthesis conditions. A longer induction time prior to crystallization was observed for reaction mixtures prepared from leached diatomaceous earth, probably due to slower digestion of the fossilized diatom skeletons as compared with that for microporous leached metakaolin. The use of leached diatomaceous earth allowed higher yield of ZSM-5 crystals within comparable synthesis times. However, low amounts of Mordenite formed, which was related to the high calcium content of diatomaceous earth. Another considerable advantage of diatomaceous earth over kaolin is that diatomaceous earth does not require heat treatment at high temperature for metakaolinization.

  • 3.
    Aguilar-Mamani, Wilson
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Crystallization of NBA-ZSM-5 from kaolin2017Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    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.

  • 4.
    Aguilar-Mamani, Wilson
    et al.
    Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology, San Simon University, UMSS, Cochabamba.
    Akhtar, Farid
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Material Science.
    Hedlund, Jonas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Mouzon, Johanne
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Solution-mediated growth of NBA-ZSM-5 crystals retarded by gel entrapment2018In: Journal of Crystal Growth, ISSN 0022-0248, E-ISSN 1873-5002, Vol. 487, p. 57-64Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The synthesis of flat tablet-shaped ZSM-5 crystals from a gel using metakaolin as aluminosilicate source and n-butyl amine as structure directing agent was investigated. The evolution inside the solid phase was characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, thermogravimetry and mass spectrometry. A kinetic study indicated that the nucleation of the majority crystals occurred concurrently with the formation of the gel upon heating the starting liquid suspension. Microstructural evidences undeniably showed that the gel precipitated on ZSM-5 crystals and mineral impurities originating from kaolin. As a result, crystal growth was retarded by gel entrapment, as indicated by the configuration and morphology of the embedded crystals. The results presented herein are harmonized with a solution-mediated nucleation and growth mechanism. Our observations differ from the autocatalytic model that suggests that the nuclei rest inside the gel until released when the gel is consumed. Our results show instead that it is crystals that formed in an early stage before entrapment inside the gel that rest inside the gel until exposed at the gel surface. These results illustrate the limitation of the classical method used in the field to determine nucleation profiles when the crystals become trapped inside the gel.

  • 5.
    Aguilar-Mamani, Wilson
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering. Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology, San Simon University, Cochabamba, Bolivia.
    Hedlund, Jonas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Mouzon, Johanne
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Internal structure of a gel leading to NBA-ZSM-5 single crystals2018In: Journal of porous materials, ISSN 1380-2224, E-ISSN 1573-4854, Vol. 25, no 6, p. 1551-1559Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Porous gel structures are formed during the synthesis of the zeolite ZSM-5 due to the reaction between a source of aluminosilicate, sodium hydroxide, water and a structure directing agent, such as e.g. tetrapropylammonium (TPA) or n-butylamine (NBA). In the present work, the formation of the gel in a heterogeneous system leading to the crystallization of NBA-ZSM-5 zeolite from leached metakaolin was studied extensively. The solid and liquid phases obtained after separation were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma sector field mass spectrometry, dynamic light scattering, extreme high resolution-scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive spectroscopy, high resolution-transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and nitrogen gas adsorption. The main gel phase formed after hydrothermal treatment exhibited a sponge-like structure resembling those forming in (Na, TPA)-ZSM-5-based systems. For the first time, the walls of the main gel were shown to be inhomogenous 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. The data presented in this paper is of primary importance to understand the mechanism by which the gel is consumed and contributes to the growth process of the zeolite crystals.

  • 6.
    Garcia, Gustavo
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Aguilar, Wilson
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Carabante, Ivan
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Geosciences and Environmental Engineering.
    Cabrera, Saúl
    Chemistry Research Institute IIQ, San Andres Mayor University UMSA, La Paz.
    Hedlund, Jonas
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Mouzon, Johanne
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
    Preparation of zeolite A with excellent optical properties from clay2015In: Journal of Alloys and Compounds, ISSN 0925-8388, E-ISSN 1873-4669, Vol. 619, p. 771-777Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Discoloration of zeolite A powder is a common problem when natural raw materials such as kaolin clay are used because of the formation of colored iron compounds. In this study, we report on a novel method to produce zeolite A with excellent optical properties, from clays. The brightness is as high as 94.5 and the yellowness is as low as 3.0. The product is comprised of intergrown zeolite A crystals with cubic habit and a length ranging between 0.5 and 2 μm. Good optical properties are obtained when the raw material contains magnesium, as some natural raw materials do, or alternatively, when a magnesium compound is added to the raw material. Magnesium probably forces iron inside colorless extraneous magnesium aluminosilicate compounds. This simple process appears very promising for the preparation of zeolite A with good optical properties from inexpensive natural raw materials.

  • 7.
    Perez-Rea, Daysi
    et al.
    Faculty of Engineering LTH, Division of Food Technology, Lund University.
    Rojas, Carola
    Food and Natural Products Center, University of San Simon, Cochabamba.
    Carballo, Sergio
    Food and Natural Products Center, University of San Simon, Cochabamba.
    Aguilar, Wilson
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Sustainable Process Engineering.
    Begenståhhl, Björn
    Faculty of Engineering LTH, Division of Food Technology, Lund University.
    Nilsson, Lars
    Faculty of Engineering LTH, Division of Food Technology, Lund University.
    Enzymatic hydrolysis of Canna indica, Manihot esculenta and Xanthosoma sagittifolium native starches below the gelatinization temperature2013In: Starke (Weinheim), ISSN 0038-9056, E-ISSN 1521-379X, Vol. 65, no 1-2, p. 151-161Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The susceptibility to enzymatic hydrolysis of starch extracted from raw roots of Canna indica, Manihot esculenta and Xanthosoma sagittifolium, grown in Bolivia, were studied below the gelatinization temperature. The granule size and amylose content were as followed: C. indica>M. esculenta>X. sagittifolium. The hydrolysis showed a rapid rate at the initial stage, followed by a progressive decrease thereafter. At 30, 40 and 50°C, during the initial stage, the rate of hydrolysis was observed to be influenced by the size of the granules, being the highest for the small sized granules X. sagittifolium, followed by the medium sized granules M. esculenta and the lowest rate was for the large sized granules C. indica starch. During the slow phase, A-type M. esculenta and B-type C. indica showed higher hydrolysis rates than A-type X. sagittifolium. At 60°C, a positive correlation was found between the amylose content and the rate of hydrolysis among the starches. Microscopic observations showed a pattern of attack by the enzyme towards C. indica starch granules, suggesting that high amylose content is concentrated around the hilum.

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