A new type of mesoporous silica has been prepared which showed 780 m2/g of BET surface area and 0.6 ml/g of primary mesopores narrowly distributed around 4.2 nm. More importantly however, is that it showed short-range zeolite crystallinity as demonstrated by FTIR and XRD analysis, and hydrophobicity as demonstrated by water and n-hexane adsorption. This material was synthesized via a dual-template, three-step hydrothermal-flocculation-steaming synthesis procedure developed by us recently. Briefly, MFI nanoprecursors (NPs) were first prepared by a low-temperature hydrothermal step using TPAOH as template for zeolite structure, and then flocculated using a surfactant that served as the template for the mesopores. The collected NPs are mesoporous silica exhibiting short-range MFI domains when directly calcined. However, the steaming step promoted the crystallization of the NPs and created uniform mesopores. It was found that almost every detail in these procedures affected the properties of the final product. The most important variables, however, were identified as the duration the flocculants were kept in contact with the liquid phase, and the humidity under which the steaming was conducted. By properly adjusting the procedures, the said mesoporous silica, as well as nanocrystals having high external surface area, could be produced at will.
- High surface area