Synthesis of zeolites from economic raw materials

Document identifier: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-76319
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Chemical Engineering, Chemical Process Engineering, Teknik och teknologier, Kemiteknik, Kemiska processer, Zeolite, Raw materials, Y-zeolite, ZSM-5, Chemical Technology, Kemisk teknologi
Publication year: 2019
Abstract:

Synthesis methods using economic raw materials, such as kaolin and diatomite have been developed for the production of zeolites in the present work. Zeolite Y and ZSM-5 have been synthetized successfully from diatomite and kaolin, respectively. 

The synthesis of zeolite Y was extensively studied (Paper I) in order to obtain final products with high crystallinity and an appropriate SiO2/Al2O3 ratio to be suitable for application as catalyst. Then, the influence of the alkalinity (in terms of SiO2/Na2O ratio) on the outcome of the synthesis was studied. Thus, an optimum range of alkalinity that satisfies the requirements stated before was found. Additionally, the results also showed that diatomite produce similar products as colloidal silica, which may be expected since both silica sources are highly polymerized forms of silica.

The synthesized zeolite Y crystals were also ion-exchanged with Lanthanum to obtain a Rare Earth zeolite Y (REY) catalyst (Paper V).  The REY catalyst was shown to be thermally stable up to 800°C as expected for this catalyst. The REY catalyst was also evaluated in the reaction of Catalytic Cracking of cumene. The results of catalytic tests shown that the REY catalyst synthetized from diatomite holds activity towards the catalytic cracking of cumene.

In addition, studies of synthesis of ZSM-5 zeolite from kaolin have been performed to understand the crystal growth and morphology, crystal size, and aluminum distribution. In particular, the influence of the gel on the morphology of the crystals (Paper II) has been studied. It was observed that when the crystal surface is in contact with the gel phase, dendritic features appear at the crystal surface, that become smoother as the reaction proceeds. On the contrary, when only liquid phase is in contact with crystal surface there is no presence of dendritic features and the growth rate is higher.

Further studies demonstrated that the ZSM-5 crystals possess a non-homogeneous aluminum distribution, a phenomenon known as Al-zoning.  A thorough characterization at distinct stages of the reaction has been performed (Paper III), on the different reaction mixture phases such as solid part, gel phase and liquid phase. The main finding was that the gel phase consists of a nanoparticle skeleton rich in alumina, filled by a silica rich matrix. In the beginning of crystallization, the silica rich matrix is preferentially consumed to form the crystals, leaving behind the alumina rich nanoparticle skeleton that is consumed later, resulting in the non-homogeneous distribution of aluminum in the crystals.

Finally, studies of the microstructure of a TPA-ZSM-5 system using fumed silica as silicon source have been performed (paper IV). In this system, three stages of crystallization were observed. Stage I, formation of amorphous gel phase. Stage II formation of XRD amorphous spherical entities denoted as Condensed Agregates (CAs). Stage III, Crystallization of CAs into ZSM-5. This study was focused only in the stage III. Findings showed that ZSM-5 nanocrystals are formed in the core of the CA (beginning of stage III), surrounded by an amorphous shell composed of alumino-silica. As the crystallization proceeds, the amorphous shell crystallizes into ZSM-5 by competitive growth, but the nanocrystals of the core remain intact. Moreover, compositional analysis results showed that the silicon from the liquid phase provided most of the nutrients for growth of the ZSM-5 crystals resulting in polycrystalline ZSM-5 aggregates with an Al rich core - Si rich shell morphology.

Authors

Edgar Cardenas

Luleå tekniska universitet; Kemiteknik
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Jonas Hedlund

Luleå tekniska universitet; Kemiteknik
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Saul Cabrera

Chemical Research Institute (IIQ), Universidad Mayor de San Andres (UMSA), La Paz, Bolivia
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Niklas Hedin

Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University
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