Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Synthetic molecular sieve binds water better than zeolites

24.09.2002


Zeolites are an extremely important class of inorganic materials that can separate gases or liquids on the basis of molecular size and shape. The backbone of a billion-dollar-a-year industry, these molecular sieves are used in numerous applications, from the production of biodegradable detergents, to the removal of moisture from natural gas pipelines, to the catalytic cracking of heavy petroleum distillates into gasoline.



Now, chemist Kenneth S. Suslick and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a new class of materials that are like zeolites in many ways. These new molecular solids are more than 50 percent empty space ­ space that can trap molecules of the right size and shape, including water. The scientists report their discovery in a paper that has been accepted for publication in the journal Nature Materials, and posted on its Web site www.nature.com/materials.

"This organic zeolite analogue binds water faster and more strongly than the best drying agents and has a higher capacity for storing water," said Suslick, a William H. and Janet Lycan Professor of Chemistry at Illinois. "The material also shows shape selectivity, permitting only a narrow range of molecules to enter."


A naturally occurring mineral consisting of aluminum and silicon, zeolites were discovered in the Middle Ages. At the time, the properties of a material were tested by heating it with a blowpipe. When this material was heated, boiling water was released. The name zeolite is derived from Greek words meaning "boiling stone."

The ability to make other kinds of molecular sieves has been a major goal in materials chemistry. That goal has been frustrated, however, because most solids are not porous to begin with, and the process of generating pores causes most materials to collapse.

To build robust nanoporous solids that are not based on silica and alumina, the researchers used much larger molecular building blocks called metalloporphyrins ­ doughnut-shaped molecules that bind metal atoms in the middle hole. Metalloporphyrins are closely related to hemoglobin (the red pigment in blood) and chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants).

By heating a mixture of a special porphyrin acid and cobalt chloride to 200 degrees Celsius, Suslick and his colleagues created a compound called PIZA-1 (Porphyrinic Illinois Zeolite Analogue #1).

"PIZA-1 demonstrated remarkable properties as a synthetic molecular sieve for removing water from common organic solvents," Suslick said. "In addition, because the metalloporphyrin has a metal in the middle that can be catalytically active, the potential exists to make shape-selective catalysts for specific purposes. Not only can we selectively absorb molecules into the solid, we can also make the trapped molecules undergo chemical reactions ­ such as the catalytic oxidation of fuels."

Catalytic reactions that would convert the hydrocarbons in gasoline into the chemicals that react to make polymers such as nylon are not yet possible to achieve, Suslick said. "But the ability to use fossil fuels as chemical feedstocks, rather than just burning them, is a technology that will become very important this century."

Collaborators on the project were graduate student Margaret Kosal (now at Chem Sensing), postdoctoral researcher Jun-Hong Chou (now at Dupont), and X-ray crystallographer Scott Wilson. The National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Energy funded the work.

James E. Kloeppel | News Bureau, UIUC
Further information:
http://www.news.uiuc.edu/scitips/02/0923sieve.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short
23.03.2017 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

nachricht WPI team grows heart tissue on spinach leaves
23.03.2017 | Worcester Polytechnic Institute

All articles from Life 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

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>