Synthesis of zeolites Na-P1 from South African coal fly ash: effect of impeller design and agitation
Ojumu, Tunde V.
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South African fly ash has been shown to be a useful feedstock for the synthesis of some zeolites. The present study focuses on the effect of impeller design and agitation rates on the synthesis of zeolite Na-P1 which are critical to the commercialization of this product. The effects of three impeller designs (4-flat blade, Anchor and Archimedes screw impellers) and three agitation speeds (150, 200 and 300 rpm) were investigated using a modified previously reported synthesis conditions; 48 hours of ageing at 47 °C and static hydrothermal treatment at 140 °C for 48 hours. The experimental results demonstrated that the phase purity of zeolite Na-P1 was strongly affected by the agitation rate and the type of impeller used during the ageing step of the synthesis process. Although zeolite Na-P1 was synthesized with a space time yield (STY) of 15 ± 0.4 kg d−1m−3and a product yield of 0.98±0.05 g zeolites/g fly ash for each impeller at different agitation speeds, zeolite formation was assessed to be fairly unsuccessful in some cases due the occurrence of undissolved mullite and/or the formation of impurities such as hydroxysodalite with the zeolitic product. This study also showed that a high crystalline zeolite Na-P1 can be synthesized from South African coal fly ash using a 4-flat blade impeller at an agitation rate of 200 rpm during the ageing step at 47 °C for 48 hours followed by static hydrothermal treatment at 140 °C for 48 hours.