Study of the pilot-scale pan granulation of zeolite-based molecular sieves


This work describes a systematic study of the granulation process of a 5A zeolite into molecular sieves. Initially, a 5A zeolite was synthesized at the pilot scale and subsequently granulated in a core–shell structure using a rotary tilted pan. The effect of water content of the paste, pan rotating velocity and inclination, proportion of zeolite in the core and shell, shell thickness, the type of binding clay, and the calcination temperature were studied. The effect of these variables on the shape, size, water adsorption capacity, and crush resistance of the agglomerates was assessed. According to the results, suitable bead shape and size were obtained at high rotation velocity (59 rpm), low pan inclination (60°) and with 30 wt. % of added water. High content of zeolite in the core and shell provided suitable adsorption capacity, but lower crush resistance. Actigel 208® exhibited better binding performance and the recommended calcination temperature was 873 K.

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Data availability

Data are entirely reported in the manuscript and in the supporting information. If any additional data are required they will be submitted upon request.


A :

Variable of linear model

B :

Variable of linear model

C :

Variable of linear model

F i :

Maximum force to break the number i granulate (N)

N C :

Critical velocity of the pan (rpm)

m i CBS :

Mass of sample before sieving (initial) (g)

m f CBS :

Mass retained in meshes 6 and 8 (final) (g)

m f RB :

Mass retained in meshes 6 and 8 which are real beads (g)

m i AC :

Mass of dried molecular sieve (g)

m f AC :

Mass after adsorption of water (g)

x 0 :

Constant of linear model

x A :

Coefficient of the variable A in the linear model

x B :

Coefficient of the variable B in the linear model

x C :

Coefficient of the variable C in the linear model

x AB :

Coefficient of mutual interaction of variables AB in the linear model

x AC :

Coefficient of mutual interaction of variables AC in the linear model

x BC :

Coefficient of mutual interaction of variables BC in the linear model

Y :

Dependent variable of the linear model

%CBS :

Percentage of correct bead size

%RB :

Percentage of real beads

a =:

\(\frac{ moles\,of\,CaO}{moles\,of\, A{l}_{2}{O}_{3}}\)

b =:


c =:


d :

Diameter of the pan

β :

Pan inclination angle


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We are grateful for support from COLCIENCIAS, DAAD, and ERANETLAC under the grants CTO 698-2014, and ELAC2015/T03-1072 (CTO 483-2016).


This research was supported by COLCIENCIAS, DAAD, and ERANETLAC under the grants CTO 698-2014, and ELAC2015/T03-1072 (CTO 483-2016).

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LG was responsible for the laboratory investigation, writing—original draft preparation, and writing—review and editing. GR contributed in the conceptualization stage and in the definition of the experimental methodologies used in the synthesis and characterization of obtained materials. He also contributed in the supervision of the research activities. AO contributed with formal analysis, resources, Writing—Original Draft Preparation, Writing—Review and Editing, Supervision, Project Administration, and Funding Acquisition.

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Correspondence to Alvaro Orjuela.

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García, L., Rodríguez, G. & Orjuela, A. Study of the pilot-scale pan granulation of zeolite-based molecular sieves. Braz. J. Chem. Eng. 38, 165–175 (2021).

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  • Granulation
  • Zeolite A
  • Molecular sieve
  • Core and shell
  • Adsorbent
  • Tilted pan