Born Jan 28 1929
Molecular Sieve Adsorbents
Patent Number(s) 3,306,922
In 1956, Edith Flanigen began working on the emerging technology of
"molecular sieves;" crystalline microporous structures with
large internal void volumes and molecular sized pores. These compounds
can be used to purify and separate complex mixtures and catalyze or
speed the rate of hydrocarbon reactions, and have widespread application
in the petroleum refining and petrochemical industries. During her 42
year career at Union Carbide and UOP, Flanigen invented or co invented
over 200 novel synthetic materials, and made substantial contributions
to the product development of zeolite Y, an aluminosilicate sieve used
to make oil refining more efficient, cleaner and safer.
Her work with molecular sieves also led to innovative applications in
water purification and environmental cleanup. Additionally, Flanigen
invented a hydrothermal emerald synthesis process and pioneered the
use of mid infrared spectroscopy for analyzing zeolite structures.
Edith Flanigen was born in Buffalo, New York. She received a B.A. from
D'Youville College and an M.S. in inorganic physical chemistry from
Syracuse University in 1952. Flanigen is the holder of 108 U.S. patents.
In 1991, she became the first woman to be awarded the Perkin Medal,
America's top honor in applied chemistry.