Publication Date

Fall 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Aaron Celestian (Director), Jason Polk, Bangbo Yan, and David Keeling

Degree Program

Department of Geography and Geology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Ion selectivity of minerals has traditionally been utilized in industry as a catalyst, metal separation, and environmental reclamation/sequestration tool. There is an increased interest in understanding ion selectivity mechanisms of micro-porous minerals and mineral-like structures and how they can be applied in various industries: environmental and, potentially, pharmaceutical. This study seeks to understand the ion exchange mechanisms in micro-porous zirconosilicates using time-resolved Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. The thesis material was exchanged with H+, Na+, K+, and Cs+ in order to better understand structural changes as well as the influence of the H+-bonding during the exchange process. It is hypothesized that the host (H+) ion strongly influences the ion selectivity of the mineral by changing framework polyhedra and ring geometry, and the geometry of the interstitial the OH…H2O bond network to only allow cations of certain sizes through the channels. In addition, the H+ may repel cations with high charge densities from entering the extra-framework sites in the crystal structure by protonating the channel pathways.


Geology | Materials Chemistry | Physical Chemistry