(266b) Invited Lecture: Bio-Inspired Design of Microporous Materials | AIChE

(266b) Invited Lecture: Bio-Inspired Design of Microporous Materials


Rimer, J. D. - Presenter, University of Houston

Critical challenges in microporous materials design stem, in part, from an inability to a priori tune crystal habit (i.e. size, shape, and orientation) and a limited, often phenomenological, understanding of the relationships between crystal structure and function (e.g. catalytic activity). Given the prevalence of zeolites as industrial catalysts and their potential for emerging technologies, an approach to systematically engineer zeolite crystals with tunable properties can be economically viable. Moreover, fundamental studies that provide an improved molecular-level understanding of the underlying mechanism(s) of zeolite crystallization can be instrumental in the design and optimization of materials with superior properties for a variety of applications.

Tailoring anisotropic growth of zeolites is a ubiquitous design goal since suboptimal crystal morphology can often marginalize its utility in applications, such as catalysis and separations, by imposing internal mass transport limitations and/or limiting guest molecule access to the pores. Here we will discuss a method to selectively control the crystal habit and surface architecture of zeolites through a bio-inspired approach that mimics processes in biomineralization that mediate crystal growth and the self-assembly of hierarchically-structured materials 1. We have employed this versatile approach to selectively tune pore surface area, internal diffusion pathlength, and surface topography of multiple zeolite framework types. The mechanism of this bio-inspired design will be discussed along with the results of colloidal and interfacial studies to characterize its effect on zeolite nucleation and growth, and the development of structure-function relationships to quantify the enhanced performance of zeolites in catalytic applications.

 [1] Rimer et al., Science 330 (2010) 337-341.