Monday, 12 December, 2011
Zeolite synthesis made easy
Possible applications in chemistry and industry
Zeolites are porous materials with perfectly regular pores and high surface area that can act as molecular sieves. This property has led to important applications including the purification of air or water such as the contaminated seawater around Fukushima. Zeolites are used as catalysts – all gasoline is now made with zeolites – and for the separation and adsorption of numerous substances. While more than 200 zeolites are known today, many require expensive organic structure-directing agents (“templates”) as well as high temperature and pressure for their synthesis. Synthesis of one of the most attractive, stable zeolites with very large pores, called EMT, has so far required a very expensive template, which has precluded industrial applications. Now a team of researchers including Dr. Svetlana Mintova from the Laboratoire Catalyse et Spectrochimie in Caen (France) and Prof. Thomas Bein from the Department of Chemistry of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in Munich has discovered a novel route for the synthesis of EMT from colloidal precursors at near ambient temperature within a short time.