FURI | Spring 2022

Geochemically Inspired Synthesis of Mesoporous Silica

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This project seeks to synthesize mesoporous silica by using the abundant mineral forsterite as a silica source. It was found that mesoporous silica can be synthesized from forsterite, with the optimal conditions being 70 °C and -0.2 pH for 24 hours, which yielded a specific surface area of 735 m2/g and a total pore volume of 1.40 mL/g. These findings demonstrate a pathway to synthesizing mesoporous materials by using abundant minerals instead of hazardous organosilicate precursors. Future research should focus on whether other surfactants would have functioned as soft templates as P123 in this study.

Student researcher

Langston Tillman

Langston Tillman

Chemical engineering

Hometown: Tempe, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2022