Session – Functional Silicates and Aluminosilicates: Clays, Zeolites and Other Minerals

These sessions focus on the modification, functionalisation and reactivity of silicate and aluminosilicate minerals that provide value-added properties for a wide range of economic and environmental uses. Clays and other fine-grained minerals have been beneficial to mankind for millennia and today, remain a key part of many established and new industries.

Functionalisation of surfaces, intercalation with reactive moieties or exchange of ions within a framework are key features of their use in a wide range of industries including healthcare, environmental remediation, resources, chemicals, buildings and construction. Encapsulation, catalysis, adsorption/desorption and ion exchange are common reaction pathways for these minerals and will guide session format during the week. Contributions on the transformation of silicate and aluminosilicate minerals via application of temperature, pressure, other parameters or their combination, particularly to form new phases with enhanced properties, are also welcome.


Session convenor

Professor Ian Mackinnon (Australia)
Queensland University of Technology

Professor Ian Mackinnon has experience in the science and technology of materials, their early origins and their use in industry. This experience has also encompassed senior management roles in the private, public and university sectors. Early in his career, Ian studied extraterrestrial materials – meteorites and cosmic dust – to learn about the origins of our solar system. This work included meteorite matrix mineralogy using high resolution TEM, unusual ordered layer structures in CM meteorites and the mineralogy of cometary and stratospheric particles. In Australia, Professor Mackinnon pursued clay minerals and their provenances in hydrocarbon reservoirs, coals and laterites. Ian also focused on kaolin minerals and their transformation to zeolitic forms for industrial use.

This work resulted in five patent families and first commercial production of zeolite N for selective exchange of ammonium to treat mature landfill leachate and other wastewaters. Other projects included industry-focussed bulk production of high temperature superconductors and incorporation into wires and magnets. Current research interests include superconductors, zeolites, clays and their beneficial uses at the energy-water-environment nexus. Professor Mackinnon was the Founder and former Executive Director of the Institute for Future Environments at QUT and, prior to that, an Executive Director at the Australian Research Council.