Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Definitive evidence of how zeolites grow: Tracking crystal growth in real time

Date:
May 15, 2014
Source:
University of Houston
Summary:
Researchers have found the first definitive evidence of how silicalite-1 zeolites grow, showing that growth is a concerted process involving both the attachment of nanoparticles and the addition of molecules. Both processes appear to happen simultaneously, said the lead author.

Photograph of the high temperature liquid cell attached to the atomic force microscope. The cell is equipped with inlet/outlet ports for liquid injection and a heating element that regulates temperatures as high as 300 degrees Celsius.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Houston

Researchers have found the first definitive evidence of how silicalite-1 (MFI type) zeolites grow, showing that growth is a concerted process involving both the attachment of nanoparticles and the addition of molecules.

Both processes appear to happen simultaneously, said Jeffrey Rimer, an engineering professor at the University of Houston and lead author of a paper published Thursday in the journal Science.

He said a second component to the research could have even more lasting impact. He and researcher Alexandra I. Lupulescu used a new technique allowing them to view zeolite surface growth in real time, a breakthrough Rimer said can be applied to other types of materials, as well.

Typically, researchers examine zeolite growth by removing crystals from the natural synthesis environment and analyzing changes in their physical properties, said Rimer, Ernest J. and Barbara M. Henley Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at UH. That has made understanding the fundamental mechanism of zeolite growth more challenging.

Zeolites occur naturally but can also be manufactured. This research involved silicalite-1, a synthetic, aluminum-free zeolite that has served as a prototype in literature for studying zeolite growth.

For more than two decades, researchers have theorized that nanoparticles, which are known to be present in zeolite growth solutions, played a role in the growth, but there was no direct evidence. And while most crystals grow through classical means -- the addition of atoms or molecules to the crystal -- the presence and gradual consumption of nanoparticles suggested a nonclassical pathway for zeolite crystallization.

Rimer and Lupulescu found that both classical and nonclassical growth models were at work.

"We have shown that a complex set of dynamics takes place," Rimer said. "In doing so, we have revealed that there are multiple pathways in the growth mechanism, which solves a problem that has been debated for nearly 25 years."

It solves a mystery in the world of crystal engineering, but how they did it may have a more lasting impact. Rimer and Lupulescu, who did the project as part of her dissertation, earning her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UH's Cullen College of Engineering in December, worked with California-based Asylum Research. They used time-resolved Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to record topographical images of silicalite-1 surfaces as they grew.

AFM provides near molecular-resolution 3-D images of the crystal surface. Rimer said the technology, along with software developed by Asylum Research and his lab, made it possible to study the growth in situ, or in place. While his lab works at temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius, the instrumentation can handle temperatures as high as 300 C, making it possible to use it for a number of materials that grow in solvothermal conditions, he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Houston. The original article was written by Jeannie Kever. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. I. Lupulescu, J. D. Rimer. In Situ Imaging of Silicalite-1 Surface Growth Reveals the Mechanism of Crystallization. Science, 2014; 344 (6185): 729 DOI: 10.1126/science.1250984

Cite This Page:

University of Houston. "Definitive evidence of how zeolites grow: Tracking crystal growth in real time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140515142835.htm>.
University of Houston. (2014, May 15). Definitive evidence of how zeolites grow: Tracking crystal growth in real time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140515142835.htm
University of Houston. "Definitive evidence of how zeolites grow: Tracking crystal growth in real time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140515142835.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) The deal will help build a massive battery factory that Tesla says will produce 500,000 lithium batteries by 2020. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Cycle World (July 30, 2014) The Bonnier Motorcycle Group presents Smoked; a three part video series. In this episode the 2015 Ducati Diavel takes on the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Video provided by Cycle World
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins