Zeolite X powder was synthesized using natural low-grade diatomite as the main source of Si but only as a partial source of Al via a simple and green hydrothermal method. The microstructure and surface properties of the obtained samples were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence (XRF), calcium ion exchange capacity (CEC), thermogravimetric-differential thermal (TG-DTA) analysis, and N2
adsorption-desorption technique. The influence of various synthesis factors, including aging time and temperature, crystallization time and temperature, Na2
O ratio on the CEC of zeolite, were systematically investigated. The as-synthesized zeolite X with binary meso-microporous structure possessed remarkable thermal stability, high calcium ion exchange capacity of 248 mg/g and large surface area of 453 m2
/g. In addition, the calcium ion exchange capacity of zeolite X was found to be mainly determined by the crystallization degree. In conclusion, the synthesized zeolite X using diatomite as a cost-effective raw material in this study has great potential for industrial application such as catalyst support and adsorbent.
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