Effects of Aging and Crystallization Time and Temperature in the Synthesis of Ideal Zeolite Linde Type A
One of the grand challenges of engineering is to provide access to clean water because it is predicted that by 2025 more than two thirds of the world’s population will face severe water shortages. To combat this global issue, our lab focuses on creating a novel composite membrane to recover potable water from waste. For use as the water-selective component in this membrane design Linde Type A zeolites were synthesized for optimal size without the use of a template. Current template-free synthesis of zeolite LTA produces particles that are too large for our application therefore the particle size was reduced in this study to reduce fouling of the membrane while also investigating the nanoparticle synthesis mechanisms. The time and temperature of the reaction and the aging of the precursor gel were systematically modified and observed to determine the optimal conditions for producing the particles. Scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and energy dispersive x-ray analysis were used for characterization. Sub-micron sized particles were synthesized at 2 weeks aging time at -8°C with an average size of 0.6 micrometers, a size suitable for our membrane. There is a limit to the posterity and uniformity of particles produced from modifying the reaction time and temperature. All results follow general crystallization theory. Longer aging produced smaller particles, consistent with nucleation theory. Spinodal decomposition is predicted to affect nucleation clustering during aging due to the temperature scheme. Efforts will be made to shorten the effective aging time and these particles will eventually be incorporated into our mixed matrix osmosis membrane.