Of the four states of matter, gases are the hardest to determine. Gas molecules move fast and wild and do not want to be constricted. When they are trapped, heat and pressure build up in the container, and it does not take long for the gas to literally blow the lid off the place. Luckily, gases are superficial. Give them an attractive inner surface and they will settle in no time. No, it's not love at first sight, it's adsorption.
"Adsorption is the process of gas-pinning on the surface of another material – such as the inner walls of a container," says Chris Wilmer, assistant professor in Pitt's Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. "When the adsorption takes place, the gas molecules cease to collide and reduce pressure, and enlarging the inner surface of a container allows us to store more gas in less space."
Dr. Wilmer leads the Hypothetical Materials Lab, where he and his research group are developing new ways to store, separate and transport gases. They have recently published their study "Thermal Transport in Interpenetrated Metal-Organic Frameworks" in the American Chemistry Society Journal Chemistry of Materials . The cover of the issue also contained a picture by Kutay Sezginel, a chemical engineering doctoral student in dr. Wilmer's laboratory, was designed. It showed interpenetrated organometallic scaffolds or MOFs.
MOFs are a promising class of porous materials consisting of metal clusters bound to organic molecules. Discovered less than two decades ago, MOFs help curb gases because their porous nanostructure has an extremely large surface area and can be tailored to be particularly sticky to certain gas molecules. MOFs are used for a variety of functions including gas storage, gas separation, sensing and catalysis.
In the study, researchers found that MOFs can dissipate even more heat from trapped gases when interwoven or "penetrated". "In fact, parallel, interpenetrated MOFs can individually cool gases from two MOFs at about the same rate, in other words, gases near neighborhoods are not particularly important when these quarters are MOFs.
More efficient gas storage could be Oil remains the preferred energy source for most transport vehicles, but natural gas is a cheaper, richer, and cleaner alternative Compressed natural gas tanks are too heavy and expensive to replace conventional fuel tanks but are adsorbed natural gas tanks Both light and cheap, a MOF tank can store the same amount of fuel as typical gas tanks, but at one-quarter pressure. This is just one potential application.
"Medical oxygen tanks that store hazardous gases from semiconductor manufacturing, and technologies that absorb carbon from the air Everyone should be able to benefit from MOFs, "says Dr. Wilmer. "We believe that MOFs have the same potential for the 21
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