Recent advances in the science and technology of zeolites and related materials, pts a - c pages:139-146
Microgravity environment allows the study of the formation of zeolites and related materials under almost convection free conditions without the interference of phenomena related to density differences. Results obtained from Sounding Rocket microgravity experiments (MAXUS4 and MAXUS5) gave surprising insights into the mechanism of formation of zeolites with MFI topology. But these experiments also emphasized the need for longer duration missions. The opportunity of performing longer microgravity experiments oil zeolite structures was offered in the frame of a Taxi-Flight to the International Space Station (ISS) in November 2002 organized by Belgium and the European Space Agency (ESA). Two facilities were designed for this flight. During the development of these two experiments it could be demonstrated that the technical obstacles due to chemically aggressive media, high process temperatures, and pressures call be overcome. ESA is currently Studying the possibility of developing a dedicated insert for zeolite experiments to be used with the optical and diagnostic platform of the Protein Crystallisation Diagnostic Facility (PCDF) that will fly integrated in the European Drawer Rack oil the Columbus Laboratory starting in 2004. This paper presents recent experiences with zeolitization proceSSeS under inicrogravity conditions and tile opportunities for zeolite investigations aboard the International Space Station (ISS) offered by the new hardware.