Parametric Study on Urea-Zeolite Fertilizer Formulation by Impregnation

Author : Ocampo, Angelli Abibuag
Major Adviser : Detras, Monet Concepcion M.
Major Co-Adviser : Fernando, Lilia M.
Committee Members : Bautista, Ramer P.; Arocena, Rhebner E.;
Year : 2017
Month : June
Type : Thesis
Degree: BS
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In this study, urea-zeolite fertilizer was formulated by impregnation as a first step to produce a controlled release fertilizer (CRF) for efficient nutrient uptake. Initially, the morphology of clinoptilolite zeolite was determined, revealing its large porosity that corresponds to a high capacity for impregnation. Batch experiments for the comparison of urea-zeolite formulation at high and low ranges of urea to zeolite ratio were then conducted at varying combinations of urea-zeolite ratio, mixing temperature, and mixing time following a 2³ full factorial experimental design. The impregnation of urea in zeolite was found to be more efficient at the low range of urea to zeolite ratio. Based on the results, the highest amount of urea in zeolite of about 227.65 ppm was obtained at 1:1 (% w/w), 80 °C, and 20 min, while the lowest amount was only about 27.92 ppm formulated at 1:3 (%w/w), 100 °C, and 60 min. Statistical analysis showed that urea-zeolite ratio and mixing temperature have significant effects on the amount of urea impregnated in zeolite. As the urea-zeolite ratio is increased and the mixing temperature is decreased, the amount of urea impregnated in zeolite increases. The fertilizer formulated at the best operating conditions of 1:1 (% w/w), 80 °C, and 20 min was further characterized. The impregnation was validated with surface analysis and presence of functional groups associated with the linkage between urea and zeolite. The results affirm the effective impregnation of urea in zeolite and the potential to develop control release upon application.

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