Hydrothermal Dissolution of Opal in Sodium Hydroxide Lyes for the Synthesis of Water Glass
Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science
Common opal was dissolved in NaOH lyes in rotating autoclaves. The starting material was characterized by X-ray diffraction and adsorption spectroscopy, thermal and chemical analysis, electron and atomic force microscopy. The opal proved to be an Opal-CT with a microstructure consisting of microcrystalline tridymite, traces of low-quartz, and amorphous parts built up by random packings of size distributed amorphous silica colloids. The dissolution conditions have been inspired by the
... d by the technological process of hydrothermal water glass synthesis by dissolving silica. Temperature and time of the dissolution process as well as initial molar SiO 2 :Na 2 O (R m ) ratios of the starting materials were varied systematically. The particle size of the samples was varied, too, but due to the nanoscopic microstructure without greater impact on dissolution kinetics. The process products were analyzed chemically. Additionally, some of them were characterized by X-ray diffraction, viscosimetry and dynamic light scattering. Already after short dissolution times, water glasses with quite high silica concentrations of up to 27 wt.% and SiO 2 :Na 2 O ratios of up to 3.7 were obtained. At longer dissolution times low-quartz and analcime precipitated and the SiO 2 contents were reduced to about 22 wt.% and R m to about 2.7. The silica contents in equilibrium with low-quartz were almost independent on temperature.