Insights into the ion-exchange properties of Zn(ii)-incorporated MOR zeolites for the capture of multivalent cations†
Understanding the properties of zeolites for cation exchange is important because the ion-exchange performance largely determines their suitability in applications such as catalysis and adsorptive separation. We synthesized a Zn(II)-incorporated mordenite-framework aluminosilicate zeolite (Zn,Al-MOR), in which both Zn and Al are substituted in the framework, and studied its ion-exchange behavior for multivalent cations. For comparison, the original aluminosilicate mordenite (Al-MOR) was also synthesized with a composition adjusted to ensure that its charge density was similar to that of Zn,Al-MOR. While the incorporation of Zn(II) led to a slower kinetic process, the selectivities and the exchange capacities toward multivalent cations (especially divalent cations) were significantly improved. Herein, we discussed the mechanism responsible for improving the ion-exchange performance in the presence of Zn(II) and found that the incorporation of Zn(II) led to a significant improvement in the ion-exchange temperature dependence of the MOR, which led to the ability to enhance ion-exchange capacity through temperature control during actual application. It was also revealed that the presence of Zn(II) significantly improves selectivity and spontaneity toward the exchange of multivalent cations, Ni2+. Moreover, XRD and nitrogen-adsorption/desorption analyses revealed that the structures of the materials are maintained during the ion exchange, which is indicative of superior structural stability and tolerance to ion exchange.