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Finalist: Toby Antippas

Toby Antippas, 18 år, Lommedalen
Skole: Nesbru videregående skole

An investigation into the synthesis and characterisation of type X Faujasite and an analysis of its pore size and adsorbance kinetics

 

Zeolites are microporous aluminosilicates distinguished by their well-defined crystalline structures and ion-exchange capabilities. Known for their widespread applicability to numerous industries, naturally occurring and synthetically produced zeolites have been utilised widely in horticulture, fluid catalytic cracking, and water treatment since the 1960s (Roundhill, 2004) (Margeta, 2013). More recently, they have achieved international prominence as contamination adsorbents during the Fukushima nuclear disaster (New York Times, 2011).

The widespread availability and economic convenience of natural zeolites has led to their widespread usage in many of the aforementioned applications. However, they generally possess structural irregularities, chemical impurities, complex regeneration techniques, smaller pore openings and hence lower adsorption capacities surface area, limiting the practicality of their employment as petrochemical catalysts (Mumpton, 1999). As such, there has been a sustained rise in demand for synthetically produced zeolites, whose structural uniformity reinforces their economic viability for adsorption-related catalytic applications (Jacobs, 2001). Specifically, the synthetic X and Y-type Faujasite species have dominated catalytic the applications of zeolites in oil production, with an annual value to fluid catalytic cracking exceeding $200 billion (U.S.E.P.A, 2012). The technological and economic potential that they possess calls for further investigation of their chemical and physical properties. Consequently, this paper will attempt to synthesise a sample of X-type Faujasite and examine its adsorption properties with volatile organic compounds similar to those used in its catalytic applications. The research question of this investigation is therefore:

“What is the diameter of the 12-ring aperture in synthesised X-type Faujasite, and how does the kinetic diameter of a volatile organic compound molecule impact the adsorption kinetics of the aperture-gas interaction?”

 

 

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