Direct Synthesis of High Aspect Ratio Zeolite Nanosheets

Technology No. 20170075
IP Status: Pending US Patent; Application #: 15/791,876

Zeolite Nanosheets with Nanometer Thicknesses

A newly developed direct synthesis method creates zeolite nanosheets with nanometer thicknesses and a high aspect ratio. The process creates zeolite nanosheets with enhanced mass transport properties within their nanopores, favorable to applications such as catalysis and separation. The nanosheets feature many desirable characteristics: predominant thickness of 5nm (2.5 unit cells), 0.6 nm straight pores down their thin dimension, and basal dimensions of several micrometers. For example, the material includes a planar layer of MFI zeolite where the planar layer ranges in thickness between 4 nm and 10 nm for at least 70% of a basal area of the planar layer. The direct synthesized nanosheets exhibited superior selectivity and flux compared to the state-of-the-art membranes made with exfoliated nanosheets or conventional crystals.

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Improved Zeolite Membrane

Previous methods of preparing zeolite nanosheets are time-consuming, costly, low-yield and result in fragmented nanosheets with sub-micrometer lateral dimensions. This direct synthesis method provides a viable path to high-aspect-ratio zeolite nanosheets, with improved yield at a lower cost.

BENEFITS AND FEATURES:

  • Direct synthesis; easier to prepare
  • Nanometer thicknesses: between 4 nm and 10 nm for at least 70% of a basal area of the planar layer
  • Superior selectivity and flux
  • Enhanced mass transport properties within their nanopores
  • High aspect ratio
  • Higher yield
  • Potentially lower cost

APPLICATIONS:

  • Zeolite membranes
  • Chemical / petroleum separation equipment
  • High-performance separation membranes
  • Catalysis and separation

Phase of Development - Prototype developed


Researchers
Michael Tsapatsis, PhD
Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
External Link (www.cems.umn.edu)
Andre Mkhoyan
Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
External Link (www.cems.umn.edu)
J. Ilja Siepmann, PhD
Professor, Department of Chemistry
External Link (chem.umn.edu)

Publications
Ultra-selective high-flux membranes from directly synthesized zeolite nanosheets
Nature, 543, 690–694 (30 March 2017)
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