A molecular sieve, also called synthetic zeolite, is a kind of crystalline aluminosilicate with many tiny pores. Its skeleton structure is primarily composed of silicon-oxygen and aluminum-oxygen tetrahedrons.
To balance excess negative charges in the crystal, various metal cations exist in the crystal lattice, such as Na+, K+, Ca2+, and some others. According to crystal structure, our synthetic zeolite is mainly divided into A type, X type, and Y type, among others.Chemical Formula of Unit Cell of Zeolite: Mx/n [ (AlO2)x (SiO2)y ]-w H2O
|Mx/n||Cation; serves to maintain the electric neutrality of crystal|
|(AlO2)x(SiO2)y||Skeleton of the zeolite crystal; it has different shapes of pores and channels|
|w H2O||Water molecules adsorbed chemically or physically
Under some conditions, reversible desorption and adsorption can happen for the physically adsorbed water molecules.
Adsorption Function: The adsorption of substances on molecular sieves comes from the physical adsorption (Van der Waals force). Inside the crystal cavities, there are extremely strong polarity and Coulomb field, which show a strong adsorption capacity for polar molecules like water and unsaturated molecules.
Screening Function: The aperture distribution of this crystalline aluminosilicate is very uniform. Only the substance with its molecular diameter smaller than the cavity diameter can be possibly allowed to enter the crystal cavity.
Different sorts of molecules can be distinguished according to the adsorption priorities and size, so this microporous material is vividly called molecular sieve.
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