Arabian Journal for Science and Engineering

, Volume 43, Issue 11, pp 5819–5836 | Cite as

A Comparative Study of Y Zeolite Catalysts Derived from Natural and Commercial Silica: Synthesis, Characterization, and Catalytic Performance

  • Najat J. Saleh
  • Bashir Y. Sherhan Al-ZaidiEmail author
  • Zainab M. Sabbar
Research Article - Chemical Engineering


Hydrothermal synthesis process of the zeolite type Y and production of different forms (i.e., NaY, \(\hbox {NH}_{4}\hbox {Y}\), and HY) were accomplished. Both natural silica nanoparticles derived from rice husk (RH) and commercial Ludox as a source of silica were applied for preparing a number of type NaY zeolite catalysts. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of adding different weight percentages of natural and/or commercial silica into either seed gel or feedstock gel on the synthesis, characterization, and catalytic performance of Y zeolite. A high purity of nanosilica (about 98.9 wt%) was generated using the precipitation method, followed by burning to reduce the metallic ingredients from rice husk ash (RHA). The thermal behavior of the RH was investigated by TGA, while the composition of nanosilica and the chemical analysis of RHA after acid treatment were analyzed by XRF. In addition, the properties of catalysts were characterized using XRD, BET, SEM, EDX, AAS, and FTIR. The catalytic activity and selectivity of prepared Y catalysts were studied using the laboratory-scale fixed-bed catalytic cracking unit throughout the \(\hbox {C}_{6}\hbox {H}_{14}\) cracking reaction at 450 \({^{\circ }}\hbox {C}\). The results indicate significant enhancements in the catalytic performance of the produced nanosilica catalyst created by adding only natural silica in both feedstock gel and seed gel for the preparation of overall Y zeolite gel.


Rice husk Silica nanoparticles Zeolite Y preparation and characterization Catalytic cracking reaction 


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We are indebted to the Petroleum Research and Development Center—Ministry of Oil in the Republic of Iraq, for full financial support of this project. We would like to acknowledge the assistance of the laboratory staff in both Chemical Engineering Departments at the University of Technology and the University of Baghdad where the majority of this research was conducted. Our great appreciation is also given to our colleagues in the Chemical Engineering—University of Sheffield, and the glassware manufacturing plant in the University of Manchester—UK, for their assistance in providing the research facilities.


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Copyright information

© King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Najat J. Saleh
    • 1
  • Bashir Y. Sherhan Al-Zaidi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zainab M. Sabbar
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemical Engineering DepartmentThe University of TechnologyBaghdadIraq

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