Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2019

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Larsen, Sarah C

Second Advisor

Gillan, Edward G

First Committee Member

Tivanski, Alexei V

Second Committee Member

Shaw, Scott K

Third Committee Member

Leddy, Johna


Recently, there has been growing interest in the green synthesis of zeolite (aluminosilicate) materials using solvent-free synthesis methods. Solid starting materials are typically ground for a period of time followed by thermal heating to synthesize crystalline ZSM-5 zeolite. These studies generally have focused on products formed after the thermal heating. However, very little is known about the reaction intermediates formed during the mechanochemical pre-reaction grinding step and how the pre-reaction impacts the subsequent synthetic success.

In this study, the mechanochemical approach used to synthesize ZSM-5 and mordenite zeolite was investigated. Two types of solvent-free synthesis methods were investigated; templated solvent-free synthesis, and template-free and solvent-free synthesis. The effect of grinding time was investigated first to find the optimal grinding time that initiates pre-reactions between the starting materials. Controlled experiments were used to monitor chemical and physical changes occuring during the grinding step.

Subsequently, the effect of different synthesis conditions such as time, temperature, template, SiO2/Al2O3, and Na2O/Al2O3 ratios, and different precursors were studied using the optimal grinding time. Both manual (mortar and pestle) and ball mill (FTS 1000) grinding were used in this study. The synthesized products were characterized using XRD, BET nitrogen adsorption, SEM, and ICP-OES. Finally, selected single-phase synthesized zeolite materials were evaluated for their catalytic performance in biomass conversion process of cellulose and glucose to useful chemicals such as hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF).


Biomass Conversion, Catalysts, Crystalline, Mechanochemical, Synthesis, Zeolites


xii, 134 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 121-132).


Copyright © 2019 Majid H. Nada

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