Logic dictates that when you increase the pressure acting on a material, it should compact. So a report from an international team of scientists that they have discovered a crystal formation that expands under pressure is intriguing. The counterintuitive behavior may be exploited to make a crystal sponge for chemical cleanup.
Images: ©Journal of the American Chemical Society/Courtesy BNL
Writing in the December 19 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the researchers describe the behavior of natrolite, a type of zeolite, under increasing pressure. Zeolites are solids characterized by a three-dimensional structure containing regularly spaced pores within the molecular framework of atoms that includes aluminum, silicon and oxygen (see top image). When the scientists subjected natrolite to pressures up to 50,000 times the normal atmospheric pressure between two diamonds, the material initially compressed, as expected. But when the pressure ranged between eight and 15 thousand times atmospheric pressure, the crystal expanded (bottom image). "This is not supposed to happen," co-author Thomas Vogt of Brookhaven National Laboratory says. "Normally, when you squeeze something, its supposed to get smaller. This stuff gets bigger." As the pressure increased, the material compressed further.
An X-ray analysis suggests that the material expanded because extra water molecules were squeezed into the pores within the natrolite. Terming the unusual property pressure-induced expansion, the team suggests that the material may be used to mop up chemical or radioactive pollutants. "When you increase the pressure and the material gets bigger, the pores get bigger, too," co-author Joseph Hriljac of the University of Birmingham explains. If pollutant molecules enter the structure, he says, "when you release the pressure, the pore would get smaller and trap the pollutants inside."
Sarah Graham | Scientific American
Robust and functional – surface finishing by suspension spraying
19.09.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Keramische Technologien und Systeme IKTS
Graphene and other carbon nanomaterials can replace scarce metals
19.09.2017 | Chalmers University of Technology
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
20.09.2017 | Life Sciences
20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy