Oriented Zeolite Membranes: Synthesis, Characterization and Applications

Ph.D. defense Donglong Fu

Zeolites and zeotype materials are heavily used in chemical industry as heterogeneous catalysts for the manufacturing of transportation fuels, chemicals and materials, such as polymers. This interest stimulates continuous research, both in academia and industry, to develop and apply new zeolite materials as well as improved catalytic, adsorption and separation technologies.

Furthermore, there is vast interest to better understand the chemical and physical properties of zeolite-based materials. In this PhD Thesis, we have synthesized uniformly oriented, catalytically active zeolite thin-films and membranes as promising reaction and separation platforms. We have further demonstrated that these materials can also be used as viable model systems to study the intricate physicochemical changes taking place during catalytic processes.

More specifically, in Chapters 2 and 3, uniformly oriented zeolite ZSM-5 thin-films (Chapter 2) and related membrane materials (Chapter 3) have been subsequently synthesized, characterized and tested. These systems were then used to study the deactivation behavior of zeolite ZSM-5 at the level of single oriented channels (Chapter 4) as well as at the nanometer scale (Chapter 6) during the methanol-to-hydrocarbons (MTH) process.

Inspired by these works, well-oriented zeolite crystals were developed to study the effect of channel geometries on reaction behavior (Chapter 5) during the MTH process. Finally, the molecular diffusion patterns within single oriented zeolite channels (Chapter 7) were also investigated by using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy.

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Source: website Utrecht University