Research Overview



"Among the minerals I have collected and whose properties I have sought to investigate, two specimens exhibit so strange and peculiar behaviour in a blowpipe flame that it is impossible to identify them with any other family...  I have boldly, but I trust not too presumptuously, designated these minerals zeolites." Axel F. Cronstedt, 1756, Sweden.

The Zeolite Group at Keele is undertaking a range of research projects related to various aspects of zeolite science, including preparation, catalysis and characterisation of zeolites.

We would like to thank EPSRC, EU, LURE, Nuffield Foundation, Royal Society, Staffordshire TEC, BP and Ineos Silicas (Crosfield) for their valuable support for this work.

Characterisation of Zeolite Based Catalysts

Understanding of the mechanisms of chemical reactions and properties of inorganic materials is of considerable fundamental and proctical importance. For instance, catalysis is a widely applicable method for activating organic molecules. This is a promising route to selective synthetic transformations and highly effective processes for environmental cleanup. Heterogeneously dispersed clusters in the pores of zeolites and mesoporous materials can provide significant advantages in activity and selectivity of the transformations of adsorbed organic species.

The purpose of this research is to provide an understanding of the factors that influence the transformation of organic molecules located in the confined pores of zeolites, and how these may be controlled by adjusting properties of the solid matrix such as chemical composition, channel size and the pore structure.

Microwave Induced Catalysis on Zeolites

The primary aim of this project is to design a microwave catalytic reactor and to utilise it for the evaluation of the catalytic performance of metal supported zeolites. Further, zeolite based catalysts are evaluated in the reactions of hydrocarbons using a continuous flow reactor operating under microwave and conventional heating conditions. The key feature of this study is the application of a single mode microwave cavity, which can considerably enhance the heating efficiency compared to traditional microwave ovens. Our results demonstrate that the transformations of low polarity organic compounds over siliceous zeolites can be induced by microwave radiation.

Modification of Mesostructured Oxides: Effect on Structure and Reactivity

The focus of this research is to investigate the structural properties and the effects of modification procedures of Ti- and Al-containing mesoporous materials using low angle X-ray and neutron scattering. The growth of SBA-15 periodically ordered structure in the synthesis gels has been studied using low angle X-ray diffraction with a synchrotron radiation source. The formation of the hexagonal phase has been detected at the very early stages of the reaction. The changes observed can be explained by the condensation reactions taking place within the silicate walls of SBA-15 leading to the formation of a well ordered material with relatively dense structure and hexagonally shaped pores. This work demonstrates that valuable structural information can be obtained for dilute reaction mixtures containing periodic phases with d-spacing values up to 25 nm.