Unveiling the elusive role of tetraethyl orthosilicate hydrolysis in ionic-liquid-templated zeolite synthesis

X. Li, T. H. Li, W. Zhou, Y. P. Li, P. H.L. Sit, Z. Wu, O. J. Curnow, K. C.W. Wu, J. Choi, A. C.K. Yip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Despite previous reports showing that crystallization kinetics affects zeolite phase selectivity because zeolites are metastable species in their synthesis solution rather than thermodynamic end points, the critical kinetics-controlling parameter is yet to be determined. This work elucidated the effect of tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) hydrolysis before hydrothermal treatment on the final zeolite phase selectivity in the ionic liquid-templated synthesis of 10-membered ring zeolites (MFI- or TON-type zeolites). The results showed that the dissolved silica concentration in the synthesis solution, which is controlled by varying the TEOS hydrolysis temperature and addition rate, induced heterogeneous nuclear growth. Specifically, in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium ([BMIM]Br)-directed syntheses, the high and low concentrations of dissolved silica species led to MFI and TON zeolite formation, respectively. The experimental results are supported by silica polymerization modeling using the Reaction Ensemble Monte Carlo method and theoretical calculations on composite building unit formation. The results are valuable for understanding the nucleation mechanism in zeolite crystallization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100658
JournalMaterials Today Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Ionic liquids
  • MFI
  • TEOS·hydrolysis
  • TON
  • Zeolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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