Nigerian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences

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Synthesis of Gamma-Alumina from Kankara Kaolin as Potential Zeolite Active Matrix

S.G. Bawa, A.S. Ahmed, P.C. Okonkwo


Commercial fluid catalytic cracking catalysts are manufactured using zeolites dispersed on an amorphous matrix, which is mostly alumina. Alumina is widely used as catalyst support in many heterogeneous catalytic processes owing to its high surface area, superior chemical activity and low cost. In compounded zeolite catalyst it serves as the active matrix which aids the conversion of the bulkiest molecules in the feed owing to its larger pore size than zeolite. Large specific surface area gamma-alumina (γ-Al2O3) was synthesized by hydrothermal method using Kankara kaolin as starting material. Thermal treatment of ammonium alum prepared from the filtrate of the dealuminated metakaolin was employed to obtain the alumina. Crystalline aluminum sulfate with 39 wt% Al2O3 was obtained at calcination temperature of 800°C with 3 h soaking. Gamma-alumina was produced at 850°C with 3 h soaking time, having specific surface area of 166 m2/g. The weight percent of Al2O3 content in the synthesized and commercial gamma-alumina were 85% and 89% respectively as obtained from the XRF analysis. Good comparison was also observed in the diffractogram of the synthesized and commercial gamma-alumina from the XRD analysis. The Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) image showed the platy hexagonal shape of the gamma-alumina.

Keywords: Gamma-alumina, zeolite, kaolin
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