Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemical industry helped by small invisible tube

25.01.2002


Chemists at Utrecht University have developed a catalyst for fine chemistry. Tiny tubes of graphite are the carrier for this catalyst. PhD student Tijmen Ros successfully tested the catalyst with a standard reaction. Fellow researchers are now making the catalyst suitable for the production of cinnamon alcohol, an aromatic substance and flavouring.



According to the researchers from Utrecht, carbon nanofibres will replace active carbon as a carrier for catalysts. Carbon nanofibres are small tubes made from graphite. Several tubes together from a sponge-like material with a large internal surface. In the optimum case a gram of tubes has a surface area of 200 m2. The researchers fix the catalyst, for example the metal rhodium, to the surface. Many small metal particles can be placed on a large surface and that produces a good catalyst.

Tijmen Ros investigated how effective the catalyst was in the hydrogenation of cyclohexene. Hydrogenation is a widely used reaction in the chemical industry. An example of hydrogenation is the hardening of fat to make butter from vegetable or animal oils. Colourings, aromatic substances and flavourings are also made by means of hydrogenation. Cyclohexene is a simple molecule used by the researchers to test the catalyst.


The catalyst turned out to be so effective that the supply of new hydrogen and not the catalyst was the rate-limiting step in the hydrogenation process.

The researchers first of all tested the carbon nanofibres with pure metal particles and then with metal complexes. Fine chemistry often uses pure metal particles but would rather work with complexes, as these are better at steering the reaction. A complex bound to carbon nanofibres makes it possible to reuse the catalyst. Although the complex used by the chemists appeared to have lost its activity, the researchers expect to be able to make active complexes in the future.

In the meantime, the Utrecht research group is investigating the industrially important hydrogenation of cinnamon aldehyde into cinnamon alcohol, a substance which tastes and smells like cinnamon. Most large companies are waiting until the efficacy of carbon nanofibres as a carrier for catalysts has been proven. The researchers expect that this will be the case within ten years.

Michel Philippens | alphagalileo

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Show me your leaves - Health check for urban trees
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation
12.12.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

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

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>