, Volume 11, Issue 7, pp 1795-1803
Date: 10 Jul 2009

Synthesis, characterization, and ion-exchange properties of colloidal zeolite nanocrystals

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Here, we present physical–chemical properties of Linde type A (LTA) zeolite crystals synthesized via conventional hydrothermal and microwave heating methods. Both heating methods produced LTA crystals that were sub-micron in size, highly negatively charged, super-hydrophilic, and stable when dispersed in water. However, microwave heating produced relatively narrow crystal size distributions, required much shorter heating times, and did not significantly change composition, crystallinity, or surface chemistry. Moreover, microwave heating allowed systematic variation of crystal size by varying heating temperature and time during the crystallization reaction, thus producing a continuous gradient of crystal sizes ranging from about 90 to 300 nm. In ion-exchange studies, colloidal zeolites exhibited excellent sorption kinetics and capacity for divalent metal ions, suggesting their potential for use in water softening, scale inhibition, and scavenging of toxic metal ions from water.