Kinetic and thermodynamic studies of silica nanoparticle dissolution

Jeffrey D. Rimer, Olga Trofymluk, Alexandra Navrotsky, Raul F. Lobo, Dionisios G. Vlachos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and microcalorimetry were used to study the dissolution of silica nanoparticles that serve as precursors in the synthesis of the pure-silica zeolite, silicalite-1. Temporal changes in nanoparticle size were monitored by SAXS to obtain radial dissolution rates on the order of 1 × 10-2 nm/min, 10 times greater than those of silicalite-1. Nanoparticle dissolution rates are independent of solution alkalinity (above pH 11) and particle surface area, although contributions from the latter account for more than 60% of the nanoparticle enthalpy of dissolution (13.5 ± 0.1 kJ/mol SiO2 relative to silicalite-1). We show that dissolution enthalpies and rates correlate to the molecular structure of silicates. Comparisons among amorphous silica, silicalite-1, and silica nanoparticles suggest that the latter are amorphous and therefore not simply small fragments of a crystalline zeolite. Nevertheless, they do possess a degree of ordering greater than that in dense amorphous silica. Dissolution experiments were also performed on heat-treated nanoparticles grown via Ostwald ripening. With increasing time of heat treatment, the nanoparticle dissolution rates and enthalpies decrease in magnitude toward those of silicalite1, suggesting a structural reorganization of silica within the particles. The results offer insight on silicalite-1 nucleation as well as relevant time scales and rate-determining steps involved in zeolite crystallization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4189-4197
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 21 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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