Zeolite Crystal Sieves

Zeolite structure: Credit: Michael Tsapatsis, University of Minnesota Silicon-oxygen nanoparticles aggregate to form zeolites, capturing other atoms and molecules in the process. The resulting minerals have regularly-shaped, intricate pore and channel systems throughout t

A team of chemists,engineers, and mathemeticians from the University of Minnesota has just published newly discovered details that will lead to customized engineering of zeolite crystal. Ultimately, their goal is to control the structure, size and shape of the crystals well enough for zeolites to serve as sponges for hydrogen in fuel tanks, channels in next-generation sensors and separation membranes for chemical manufacturing.

R. Lee Penn: Credit: Patrick O'Leary, University of Minnesota R. Lee Penn of the University of Minnesota department of chemistry uses the Tecnai F30 high-resolution microscope to study zeolite formation. The scope was purchased with the support of a National Science

Michael Tsapatis: Credit: University of Minnesota Michael Tsapatis is the principal investigator for the zeolite growth study.

Tracy Davis: Credit: University of Minnesota Tracy Davis, lead author on the zeolite study, used the Small Angle X-Ray Scattering System on loan from Anton Paar GmbH of Granz, Austria, to study zeolite formation and growth.

Zeolite is a porous, sieve-like mineral often used in filters and purifiers. Zeolite has economic importance in industry because it is used to extract various components out of petroleum. The challenge for researchers is to tailor a zeolite for each application so it traps just the right set of chemicals.

"Membranes made by our current process will cost over $1,000 per square meter - too expensive for widespread use in applications like hydrogen purification and hydrocarbon separations that need thousands of square meters of membrane," said Tsapatsis.

"With the mechanistic knowledge we now have we are designing one-step film formation processes that could cost one tenth that amount." University of Minnesota chemical engineer Michael Tsapatsis, graduate student and lead author Tracy Davis, and their colleagues report their findings Apr. 17, 2006, online in Nature Materials. The research was supported by several National Science Foundation (NSF) grants from across three Divisions.

Source: National Science Foundation

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this site is totally awesome. where can I learn more information?

posted on Sat, 04/22/2006 - 12:05pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

"Where can I learn more information?"
More information about what? Zeolites?
Zeolite frequently asked questions site.
Wikipedia on zeolites.
Or do want learn about some other topic?
I use search engines like Google if I know what I want to look up. If I want to learn everything I possibly can, I use tools like Newsgator and Bloglines. They allow me to read any new information that is published on about 100 websites that specialize in science news. I also read the blogs of smart people who read hundreds of web sites in their news readers and share the best stuff with their readers.

posted on Sat, 04/22/2006 - 1:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i wonder if it zeolite is a ligthweigth material then it possible to make it a insulating bricks? give me some procedures in making zeolite bricks for insulating

posted on Fri, 08/31/2007 - 8:06pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

At a $100 a square foot, why would you not look for a less expensive material?

posted on Sat, 09/01/2007 - 9:00am
yibeltal tesfaye bekele's picture
yibeltal tesfaye bekele says:

i need to know more about zeolite and uts techinique of exploitation from erarth crust???

posted on Mon, 06/06/2011 - 6:44am

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <h3> <h4> <em> <i> <strong> <b> <span> <ul> <ol> <li> <blockquote> <object> <embed> <param> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may embed videos from the following providers vimeo, youtube. Just add the video URL to your textarea in the place where you would like the video to appear, i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw0jmvdh.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Images can be added to this post.

More information about formatting options