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 Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>