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.
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Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
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The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
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