Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Building a better hydrogen trap

21.11.2005


Using building blocks that make up ordinary plastics, but putting them together in a whole new way, University of Michigan researchers have created a class of lightweight, rigid polymers they predict will be useful for storing hydrogen fuel. The work is described in today’s (Nov. 17) issue of the journal Science.

The trick to making the new materials, called covalent organic frameworks (COFs), was coaxing them to assume predictable crystal structures---something that never had been done with rigid plastics.

"Normally, rigid plastics are synthesized by rapid reactions that randomly cross-link polymers," said postdoctoral fellow Adrien Côté, who is first author on the Science paper. "Just as in anything you might do, if you do it really fast, it can get disorganized." For that reason, the exact internal structures of such materials are poorly understood, making it difficult to predict their properties. But Côté and colleagues tweaked reaction conditions to slow down the process, allowing the materials to crystallize in an organized fashion instead of assembling helter skelter.



As a result, the researchers can use X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of each type of COF they create and, using that information, quickly assess its properties.

"Once we know the structure and properties, our methodology allows us to go back and modify the COF, making it perform better or tailoring it for different applications," said Côté.

Côté collaborated on the work with Omar Yaghi, who is the Robert W. Parry Collegiate Professor of Chemistry at U-M. Over the past 15 years, Yaghi has taken a similar approach to producing materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). On the molecular level, MOFs are scaffolds made up of metal hubs linked together with struts of organic compounds. By carefully choosing and modifying the chemical components used as hubs and struts, Yaghi and his team have been able to define the angles at which they connect and design materials with the properties they want.

Like MOFs, COFs can be made highly porous to increase their storage capacity. But unlike MOFs, COFs contain no metals. Instead, they’re made up of light elements – hydrogen, boron, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen – that form strong links (covalent bonds) with one another.

"Using light elements allows you to generate lightweight materials," said Côté. "That’s very important for hydrogen fuel storage, because the lighter the material, the more economical it is to transport around in a vehicle. The strong covalent bonds also make COFs very robust materials." Although the main thrust of the current research is creating materials for gas storage in fuel cells, Côté, Yaghi and colleagues also are exploring variations of COFs that might be suitable for use in electronic devices or catalytic applications.

"This is the first step to what we think is going to be a very large and useful class of materials," Côté said.

Nancy Ross-Flanigan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht New value added to the ICSD (Inorganic Crystal Structure Database)
27.03.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

nachricht Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen
24.03.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>