Synthetic and Atomic Force Microscopy Studies of Offretite/Erionite Family Zeolites

  • Amy Holmes

Student thesis: Phd


Several members of the ABC-6 zeolite family, namely offretite, zeolite T, ZSM-34 and zeolite L, were synthesised with a view to studying the effect of synthetic parameters on the resulting crystal properties. A range of procedures for producing offretite and ZSM-34 were tested, and crystals with the optimal morphology, purity, crystallinity and size identified. A standard procedure for synthesising zeolite T was used, before the effect of systematically altering the cation concentration, Si/Al ratio and water content in the synthesis mixture was studied, and the optimal composition identified.Ex-situ AFM was used to study the morphology of the resulting crystals, as well as to determine information about surface features, such as the shape and height of terraces. This information could be used to infer the growth mechanism for each crystal. The AFM studies of zeolite L were compared with those of previous studies and found to agree. For offretite, zeolite T and ZSM-34, 1.2 nm high terraces elongated along the length of the {100} face of the crystals were observed. Where the crystals exhibited a micro-crystalline morphology without distinct faces HR-SEM was used to study their morphology and terracing. In-situ AFM was used to study the dissolution of the crystals in basic media. In each case the terraces were observed to dissolve primarily length-wise. The dissolution of terraces on zeolite T was considered in particular detail. The terrace height was measured during dissolution, and three distinct measurements were observed, 1.2, 0.8 and 0.2 nm. These heights were related to framework features. Lateral force AFM measurements were used to show the relationship between decreased terrace height and increased lateral deflection, indicating that dissolving areas of crystal exhibited increased tip-sample friction. The rate of dissolution of terraces on zeolite T was also considered. It was found that dissolution rate increased with increasing NaOH concentration, and with increasing tip-sample force in the AFM. These observations allowed order of reaction for the dissolution process of zeolite T to be estimated at 2.54. A magnesium substituted aluminophosphate ABC-6 family zeotype material, MgAPO-CJ60, was also synthesised and analysed. Solid-state NMR was used to determine the distribution of aluminium and phosphorous within the framework, which was found to be non-random.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorMichael Anderson (Supervisor)


  • zeolite
  • synthesis
  • offretite
  • erionite
  • atomic force microscopy
  • crystal growth

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