Zeolites are crystalline nonporous aluminosilicates with important applications in separation, purification, and adsorption of liquid and gaseous molecules. However, an ability to tailor the zeolite microstructure, such as particle size/shape and pore-size, to make it benign for specific application requires control over nucleation and particle growth processes. But, the nucleation and crystallization mechanisms of zeolites are not fully understood.
In this context, the synthesis of an all-silica zeolite with MFI-type framework has been studied extensively as a model system. Throughout chapters 2, 4 and 5, MFI growth process has been investigated by small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Of fundamental importance is the role of nanoparticles (~5 nm), which are present in the precursor sol, in MFI nucleation and crystallization. Formation of amorphous aggregates and their internal restructuring are concluded as essential steps in MFI nucleation. Early stage zeolite particles have disordered and less crystalline regions within, which indicates the role of structurally distributed population of nanoparticles in growth. Faceting occurs after the depletion of nanoparticles. The chapter 6 presents growth studies in silica sols prepared by using a dimer of tertaprpylammonium (TPA) and reports that MFI nucleation and crystallization are delayed with a more pronounced delay in crystal growth.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2010. Major: Material Science and Engineering. Advisors: Professor Michael Tsapatsis, Professor Lee Penn. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 96 pages, appendices A-B.
Early stages of zeolite growth..
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