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 InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light
05.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells
01.12.2016 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Speed data for the brain’s navigation system

06.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization

06.12.2016 | Life Sciences

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>