Behaviour at high pressure of Rb7NaGa8Si12O40·3H2O (a zeolite with EDI topology): a combined experimental–computational study

G. D. Gatta, G. Tabacchi, E. Fois, Y. Lee
  • Physics and Chemistry of Minerals, December 2015, Springer Science + Business Media
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00269-015-0787-0

Behaviour at high pressure of a rubidium zeolite

What is it about?

What happens to porous materials when they are compressed by very high forces? Would they collapse? What if the force is exerted by a fluid that can enter the pores? To answer these questions - and many others - here we studied how the geometry and composition of a synthetic porous material - a rubidium zeolite - is modified by the application of high external pressures.

Why is it important?

Thanks to the joint effort of high-pressure experiments and accurate atomistic simulations, we discovered the mechanisms governing the compression of the porous material. Surprisingly, our material did not show phase transitions, and we did not even observe the penetration of molecules within the P-range investigated. Instead, the zeolite responds to the applied pressure in the easiest and cheapest way: its building blocks rotate around their axis so as to decrease the free volume of the pores. In other words, the building blocks do not deform under the effect of pressure, and no chemical bond is broken (or formed). We also found that the changes induced by pressure are completely reversible: the material recovers the original structure in returning to room pressure,


Gloria Tabacchi
university of insubria

I find very fascinating to explore the high-pressure regime to understand how molecules, materials and minerals behave in situations very far from our direct experience - such as it happens, for example, in the Earth crust. There is always something new and exciting to be learnt! Combining experimental data and computational modelling, as we did in this work, is one of the most powerful tools to reveal the behaviour of minerals and technologically important porous materials at high-pressure conditions.

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The following have contributed to this page: Gloria Tabacchi