Making the ADOR process industrially viable

Lead Research Organisation: University of St Andrews
Department Name: Chemistry


The recently developed ADOR (Assembly-Disassembly-Organisation-Reassembly) process for the synthesis of zeolites, enables access to materials unattainable via conventional pathways. The concept exploits a chemical weakness in a parent zeolite, which is used to break up the framework in distinct positions, while keeping the main layers intact. This weakness is the comparably fragile bond between germanium and oxygen, hence the ADOR process is limited to germanium containing zeolites so far. Due to the high price of germanium-precursors, industrial applications would not be viable at the moment. To overcome this inherent problem, the aim of the project is to find ways for the ADOR pathway to become more economical.
One possibility to be investigated is seed-directed synthesis, where a small amount of seed-crystals, obtained by ADOR, is used to synthesise more material of the same framework. Hereby the usage of germanium may be reduced or can potentially be avoided altogether, after the initial step.
The second method aims to establish a solvent-less synthesis for the parent materials. The main advantages of this method are the avoidance of essentially any waste solvent and the more efficient use of the precursors, as they cannot be lost via the liquid phase.
A mechanochemical approach will also be undertaken, in which the effect of applied mechanical energy (e.g. via ball milling) on the parent zeolites and/or daughter materials will be investigated.


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Desai AV (2023) Azo-functionalised metal-organic framework for charge storage in sodium-ion batteries. in Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)

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Rainer DN (2021) New avenues for mechanochemistry in zeolite science. in Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003)

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Rainer DN (2020) Mechanochemically assisted hydrolysis in the ADOR process. in Chemical science

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509759/1 30/09/2016 29/09/2021
2031526 Studentship EP/N509759/1 27/01/2018 25/07/2021 Daniel Rainer
EP/R513337/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2023
2031526 Studentship EP/R513337/1 27/01/2018 25/07/2021 Daniel Rainer
Description Using an alternative synthesis approach (mechanochemistry in the form of ball milling) the products of the established ADOR process for the preparation of zeolites display partly unexpected structures. This may be of potential interest for the future industrial preparation of these specific zeolites, as the employed ball milling method is principally transferrable to industrial scales.
Additionally, cost-efficient enrichment of the produced material with the NMR acitve isotope of oxygen (17O) can be achieved through a low-volume variant of the used procedure.
Exploitation Route The general methodology should be applicable to several materials, espcially if the preparation includes a hydrolysis step. The method is advantageous compared to the conventional procedure due to lower liquid waste volumes and a low energy input. Additionally, the feasibility of mechanochemistry for the enrichment of materials with 17O promises to be an exciting alternative for established procedures.
Sectors Chemicals