Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Safer, Denser Acetylene Storage in an Organic Framework

27.08.2009
The century-old challenge of transporting acetylene may have been solved in principle by a team of scientists working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). A NIST research team has figured out* why a recently discovered material can safely store at low pressure up to 100 times as much of the volatile chemical as can be done with conventional methods.

The team has probed the atomic-level workings of a metal-organic framework (MOF), a lattice-like structure made of copper oxide and benzene, that soaks up acetylene like a sponge. Using tools at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), the scientists have shown that exposed copper atoms within the lattice give the MOF its talent at storing acetylene. The findings, according to NCNR physicist Yun Liu, could be of use to the chemical industry in the future.

“This discovery could provide substantial savings in acetylene transportation costs,” says Liu, a member of the research team, which also included scientists from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Acetylene, widely used in decades past for welding and illumination, is now also valuable as a starting point for synthesizing a range of chemicals used in plastics and explosives. In the United States alone, several hundred thousand tons of acetylene are produced every year, but its volatility renders it difficult to transport: It becomes dangerously explosive at about 30 psi (207 kilopascal), only about twice normal atmospheric pressure. To safely store acetylene, storage cylinders have to be filled with both porous material and liquid solvents such as acetone.

The research team used neutron powder diffraction and computer calculations at the NCNR to investigate an MOF called HKUST-1, which has a sponge-like interior in which copper atoms are exposed to the air. The analysis showed that the acetylene attaches to the exposed copper by virtue of weak electrical charges, allowing the MOF to store 201 cubic centimeters of acetylene per gram of lattice at ambient pressure—comparable to the amount of similar chemicals that can be contained within a high pressure storage cylinder.

Liu says the fundamental discovery could also help scientists better understand MOFs, which could be used to store other materials. “More than a thousand of these metal—organic frameworks have been created so far,” he says. “We hope our technique will turn out to be a good way to check such materials’ properties in advance.”

* S. Xiang, W. Zhou, J.M. Gallegos, Y. Liu, and B. Chen. Exceptionally High Acetylene Uptake in a Microporous Metal – Organic Framework With Open Metal Sites. Journal of the American Chemical Society, Aug. 11, 2009, DOI 10.1021/ja904782h.

Chad Boutin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Producing electricity during flight
20.09.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene
19.09.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

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...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>