The present study reports a green synthesis method for preparing pure (free of fly ash) and ordered MCM-41 materials from coal fly ash at room temperature (25 °C) during 24 h of reaction. It was shown that the impurities in the coal fly ash were not detrimental to the formation of MCM-41 at the tested conditions. The influence of initial synthesis pH on material properties of calcined MCM-41 samples was investigated by various techniques such as XRF, XPS, XRD, FTIR, DR-UV-vis, solid state NMR, N2 physisorption, TG-DTA, SEM and TEM. The experimental results showed that the amount of trace elements such as Al, Na, Ti and Fe incorporated into the sample increased with synthesis pH value. More aluminum species were incorporated with tetrahedral coordination in the framework under a high pH value. The particle size of the sample decreased with the synthesis pH value. Samples synthesized at high pH values had a larger pore size and were more hydrothermally stable than those at low pH values. From thermal analysis, it was observed that the synthesized MCM-41 samples showed a high thermal stability. These properties made the synthesized MCM-41 suitable for further processing into more useful materials in a wide range of applications.
- Coal fly ash