Revealing scenarios of interzeolite conversion from FAU to AEI through the variation of starting materials†
Interzeolite conversion, which refers to the synthesis of zeolites using a pre-made zeolite as the starting material, has enabled promising outcomes that could not be easily achieved by the conventional synthesis from a mixture of amorphous aluminum and silicon sources. Understanding the mechanism of interzeolite conversion is of particular interest to exploit this synthesis route for the preparation of tailor-made zeolites as well as the discovery of new structures. It has been assumed that the structural similarity between the starting zeolite and the target one is crucial to a successful interzeolite conversion. Nevertheless, an image as to how one type of zeolite evolves into another one remains unclear. In this work, a series of dealuminated FAU zeolites were created through acid leaching and employed as the starting zeolites in the synthesis of AEI zeolite under various conditions. This experimental design allowed us to create a comprehensive diagram of the interzeolite conversion from FAU to AEI as well as to figure out the key factors that enable this kinetically favourable crystallization pathway. Our results revealed different scenarios of the interzeolite conversion from FAU to AEI and pinpointed the importance of the structure of the starting FAU in determining the synthesis outcomes. A prior dealumination was proven effective to modify the structure of the initial FAU zeolite and consequently facilitate its conversion to the AEI zeolite. In addition, this strategy allowed us to directly transfer the knowledge obtained from the interzeolite conversion to a successful synthesis of the AEI zeolite from dealuminated amorphous aluminosilicate precursors. These results offer new insights to the design and fabrication of zeolites via the interzeolite conversion as well as to the understandings of the crystallization mechanisms.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2021 PCCP HOT Articles