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Z-scheme WO3/PANI heterojunctions with enhanced photocatalytic activity under visible light: A depth experimental and DFT studies

Y. Naciri; A.Hsini; A.Bouziani; K.Tanji; B.El Ibrahimi; M.N.Ghazza; B. Bakiz; A.Albourine; A.Benlhachemi; J.A. Navío
Chemosphere, 292 (2022) 133468


A WO3@PANI heterojunction photocatalyst with a various mass ratio of polyaniline to WO3 was obtained via the in situ oxidative deposition polymerization of aniline monomer in the presence of WO3 powder. The characterization of WO3@PANI composites was carried via X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), ultraviolet–visible diffuse reflection spectroscopy (DRS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and photoluminescence spectroscopy (PL). The photocatalytic efficiency of WO3@PANI photocatalysts was assessed by following the decomposition of the Rhodamine B (RhB) dye under visible light irradiation (λ >420 nm). The results evidenced the high efficiency of the WO3@PANI (0.5 wt %) nanocomposite in the photocatalytic degradation of RhB (90% within 120 min) under visible light irradiation 3.6 times compared to pure WO3. The synergistic effect between PANI and WO3 is the reason for the increased photogenerated carrier separation. The superior photocatalytic performance of the WO3@PANI catalyst was ascribed to the increased visible light in the visible range and the efficient charge carrier separation. Furthermore, the Density Functional Theory study (DFT) of WO3@PANI was performed at the molecular level, to find its internal nature for the tuning of photocatalytic efficiency. The DFT results indicated that the chemical bonds connected the solid-solid contact interfaces between WO3 and PANI. Finally, a plausible photocatalytic mechanism of WO3@PANI (0.5 wt %) performance under visible light illumination is suggested to guide additional photocatalytic activity development.

April, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.133468

Exploring the photocatalytic activities of a highly {0 0 1} faceted TiO2 sensitized by coupling with AgBr or Ag3PO4

F.Puga; J.A.Navío; M.A.Paulete-Romero; J.M.Córdoba; M.C.Hidalgo
Materials Science and Engineering: B, 276 (2022) 115555


TiO2 with high {0 0 1} facet exposure was coupled with AgBr or Ag3PO4. Catalysts were widely characterized and tested with rhodamine B (RhB) or caffeic acid under UV and visible light. Combination of the used sensitizer (AgBr or Ag3PO4) with TiO2, not only enhances the high photocatalytic activity shown in the UV for TiO2, but it also largely increases the degradation activity under visible illumination. A synergistic effect toward photocatalytic degradation in the visible light was observed when coupling AgBr and TiO2, with the photocatalytic degradation profiles being strongly related to the molar percentages of the coupled materials and to the nature of the contaminant. The recycling of the coupled materials allows us to conclude that the AgBr(50%)/TiO2 sample presents better results in the consecutive reuse cycles and percentages of RhB dye mineralization, in contrast to those observed for the Ag3PO4(50%)/TiO2 composite.

February, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.mseb.2021.115555

Plasma engineering of microstructured piezo-Triboelectric hybrid nanogenerators for wide bandwidth vibration energy harvesting

Garcia-Casas, X; Ghaffarinehad, A; Aparicio, FJ; Castillo-Seoane, J; Lopez-Santos, C; Espinos, JP; Cotrino, J; Sanchez-Valencia, JR; Barranco, A; Borras, A
Nano Energy, 91 (2022) 106673


We introduce herein the advanced application of low-pressure plasma procedures for the development of piezo and triboelectric mode I hybrid nanogenerators. Thus, plasma assisted deposition and functionalization methods are presented as key enabling technologies for the nanoscale design of ZnO polycrystalline shells, the formation of conducting metallic cores in core@shell nanowires, and for the solventless surface modification of polymeric coatings and matrixes. We show how the perfluorinated chains grafting of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) provides a reliable approach to increase the hydrophobicity and surface charges at the same time that keeping the PDMS mechanical properties. In this way, we produce efficient Ag/ZnO convoluted piezoelectric nanogenerators supported on flexible substrates and embedded in PDMS compatible with a contact-separation triboelectric architecture. Factors like crystalline texture, ZnO thickness, nanowires aspect ratio, and surface chemical modification of the PDMS are explored to optimize the power output of the nanogenerators aimed for harvesting from low-frequency vibrations. Just by manual triggering, the hybrid device can charge a capacitor to switch on an array of color LEDs. Outstandingly, this simple three-layer architecture allows for harvesting vibration energy in a wide bandwidth, thus, we show the performance characteristics for frequencies between 1 Hz and 50 Hz and demonstrate the successful activation of the system up to ca. 800 Hz.

January, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2021.106673

Performance of AISI 316L-stainless steel foams towards the formation of graphene related nanomaterials by catalytic decomposition of methane at high temperature

Cazana, F; Latorre, N; Tarifa, P; Royo, CJ; Sebastian, V; Romeo, E; Centeno, MA; Monzon, A
Catalysis Today, 383 (2022) 236-246


This work explores the preparation of graphene-related materials (GRMs) grown on stainless steel foams via catalytic decomposition of methane (CDM). The main active phases for the reaction are the Fe nanoparticles segregated from the stainless-steel after the activation stage of the foam. The effect of the feed composition and reaction temperature has been studied in order to maximize the productivity, stability and selectivity to GRMs. The maximum productivity attained was 0.116 g(C)/g(foam) h operating at 950 degrees C with a feed ratio of CH4/H-2 = 3 (42.9 %CH4:14.3 %H-2). The carbonaceous nanomaterials (CNMs) obtained were characterized by X-Ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy and by transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The parameters of the kinetic model developed are directly related to the relevant stages of the process, including carburization, diffusion-precipitation and deactivation-regeneration. The balance among these sequential stages determines the overall performance of the activated foam. In conditions of rapid carburization of the Fe NPs (p(CH4) > 14 %), the productivity to CNMs is favoured, avoiding an initial deactivation of the active sites by fouling with amorphous carbon. After a rapid carburization, the selectivity to the different CNMs is governed by the ratio CH4/H-2, and mainly by the temperature. Thus, the formation of GRMs, mainly Few Layer Graphene (FLG) and even graphene, is favoured at temperatures above 900 degrees C. At lower temperatures, carbon nanotubes are formed.

January, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cattod.2020.12.003

Unravelling the role of Fe in trimetallic Fe-Cu-Pt/Al2O3 catalysts for CO-PROX reaction

Palma, S; Gonzalez-Castano, M; Romero-Sarria, F; Odriozola, JA
Molecular Catalysis, 517 (2022) 112015


This work proposes a trimetallic Fe-Cu/Pt/Al2O3 catalyst as an appealing system for preferential oxidation of CO (CO-PROX) reaction. The excellent conversion rates achieved by the Fe-Cu/Pt/Al2O3 catalysts under realistic reforming-surrogated feed streams along with the catalyst stability, reproducibility, and scalability showcase a very competitive system for CO-PROX reaction units. Furthermore, the systematic analysis conducted for Pt/Al2O3, Cu/Pt Al2O3, and Fe-Cu/Pt/Al2O3 catalysts enabled establishing meaningful relationships between catalytic behaviour and the catalyst surface to reactants interactions. Thus, the enhanced CO oxidation performances attained by the incorporation of Fe species into bimetallic Cu/Pt/Al2O3 catalysts were associated to superior surface electron densities and inhibited CO adsorption process over Pt surfaces. Remarkably, operando-DRIFTS spectroscopy evidenced significantly larger H-containing surface species developed over the trimetallic system. The enhanced abilities for developing thermally instable intermediates favoured by small amounts of Fe should indeed determine the enhanced catalysts behaviours displayed by the trimetallic Fe-Cu/Pt/Al2O3 catalyst.

January, 2022 | DOI: 10.1016/j.mcat.2021.112015


Unravelling the optimization of few-layer graphene crystallinity and electrical conductivity in ceramic composites by Raman spectroscopy

Muñoz-Ferreiro, C; Lopez-Pernia, C; Gallardo-Lopez, A; Poyato, R
Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 41 (2021) 290-298


Zirconia composites with few-layer graphene (FLG) were prepared by two powder processing routines-ultrasonic agitation or planetary ball milling-and spark plasma sintered at 1250 and 1300 degrees C. An in-depth study of the crystallinity of FLG, in terms of presence and nature of defects, was performed by Raman spectroscopy, revealing enhanced FLG crystallinity after sintering. This enhancement was more noticeable in the composites sintered at the highest temperature, with lower amount of structural defects and amorphous carbon. However, remaining amorphous carbon was detected in the composites prepared by planetary ball milling even after sintering at the highest temperature, resulting in lower electrical conductivities. Optimum results in terms of electrical conductivity were achieved for the composites prepared by ultrasonic agitation and sintered at 1300 degrees C, with electrical percolation limit below 2.5 vol% FLG and high electrical conductivity (678 S/m for 5 vol% FLG), as result of the enhanced FLG crystallinity after sintering.

December, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2021.09.025

Advanced parametrisation of phase change materials through kinetic approach

Lizana, J; Perejon, A; Sanchez-Jimenez, PE; Perez-Maqueda, LA
Journal of Energy Storage, 44 (2021) 103441


Phase change materials (PCM) have been widely investigated for heat storage and transfer applications. Numerous numerical simulation approaches have been proposed for modelling their behaviour and predicting their performance in thermal applications. However, simulation approaches do not consider the kinetics of the phase transition processes, compromising the accuracy of their predictions. The phase change is a kinetically driven process in which both the reaction rate and the reaction progress depend on the heating schedule. This work evaluates and parametrises the influence of kinetics in the melting and crystallisation behaviour of a well-known PCM, PEG1500, and compares potential discrepancies with common phase change parametrisation alternatives. The kinetic dependence was experimentally evaluated through differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The kinetic parameters required for modelling the kinetics of the processes were determined by both model-free and model-fitting procedures following ICTAC (International Confederation for Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry) recommendations. Then, the phase transition was parametrised through a kinetic model and compared with three conventional phase transition models: linear without hysteresis, non-linear without hysteresis, and non-linear with hysteresis. The statistical comparison between models demonstrates the higher accuracy of the kinetic approach to correctly represent the partial enthalpy distribution of latent heat storage materials during alternative phase change rates, obtaining a coefficient of determination (R-2) of 0.80. On the other hand, the accuracy of kinetic-independent models is limited to the range from 0.40 to 0.61. The results highlight the high discrepancies of conventional models compared to the kinetic approach and provide criteria and guidelines for efficient kinetic modelling of phase change in heat transfer evaluations.

December, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.est.2021.103441

Fabrication and characterization of FeCoNiCrMn,(Al) high entropy alloy based (Ti,Ta,Nb)(C,N) cermet

Real, C; Alcala, MD; Trigo, I; Fombella, I; Cordoba, JM
International Journal of Refractory Metals & Hard Materials, 101 (2021) 105694


From nanostructured mechanically synthesized powder a set of FeCoNiCrMn,(Al) based (Ti,Ta,Nb)(C,N) cermets were fabricated and sintered by a pressureless procedure. Highly dense cermets were obtained, and the nature of chemical change, microstructure, mechanical properties and coarsening kinetic of ceramic phase were characterized by image analysis, microindentation, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The design of the material was performed using a set of three different chemical cermet composition and three different sintering temperatures, or comparative purposes.

December, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.ijrmhm.2021.105694

White, blue, violet, and other colors from Tm3+/Tb3+/Eu3+ co-doped polymorph SrAl2O4 films, deposited by ultrasonic spray pyrolysis technique

Calderon-Olvera, RM; Garcia-Hipolito, M; Alvarez-Fregoso, O; Alvarez-Perez, MA; Baez-Rodriguez, A; Ramos-Brito, F; Garcia-Velasco, AC; Falcony, C
Opticalls Materials


SrAl2O4: Tm3+, SrAl2O4: (Tb3+; Eu3+) and SrAl2O4: (Tb3+; Eu3+; Tm3+) films were deposited by ultrasonic spray pyrolysis (USP) method at 550. C and subsequently heat-treated at 800 degrees C. XRD characterization showed a monoclinic/hexagonal polymorph phase of these films with orthorhombic Sr4Al14O25 as secondary phase. The incorporation of Tm3+ ions in strontium aluminate host lattice generated emissions of blue color for photoluminescence and violet color for cathodoluminescence. The violet emission was associated to the electronic transition from I-1(6) energy level of Tm3+. Photoluminescence of the SrAl2O4: (Tb3+; Eu3+) films resulted in two different colors, white emission was observed when excited with 210 nm and bluish-white emission was achieved by exciting with 275, and 286 nm. When three dopant ions (Tm3+; Tb3+; Eu3+) were incorporated inside strontium aluminate host lattice, it was observed (exciting under 252 nm) white photoluminescence emission (x = 0.3377, y = 0.3294); for excitation wavelengths (lambda(exc)) = 262, 315 and 375 nm, emissions in different shades of blue-green were achieved. Quantum efficiencies between 48 and 57% were obtained.

December, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.optmat.2021.111737

Designed organomicaceous materials for efficient adsorption of iodine

Osuna, FJ; Pavon, E; Pazos, MC; Alba, MD
Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 9 (2021) 106577


The anionic iodine I-129 has a significant contribution to overall long-term dose resulting from the nuclear waste storage and its immobilization by clay barrier is crucial. Organoclays have been tested as ideal adsorption materials, being the clay layer charge and the length and type of organic molecules the most relevant parameters affecting the adsorption. In this work, a family of designed organomicas are explored in term of iodine adsorption capacity. Their adsorption capacities were always higher than that of the traditional clays and organoclays. C-18-M4 shows a maximum monolayer adsorption capacity one order of magnitude higher than natural organoclays, with a free energy typical of physical adsorption and adsorption sites of high affinity. However, its surface is not homogeneous in terms of stability constant according to the Scatchard adsorption parameters. Hence, this study can provide a guidance for the design and construction of ultrahigh-capacity iodine adsorbents.

December, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jece.2021.106577

LaFeO3 Modified with Ni for Hydrogen Evolution Via Photocatalytic Glucose Reforming in Liquid Phase

G. Iervolino; V. Vaiano; D. Sannino; F. Puga; J.A. Navío; M.C. Hidalgo
Catalysts, 11 (2021) 1558


In this work, the optimization of Ni amount on LaFeO3 photocatalyst was studied in the photocatalytic molecular hydrogen production from glucose aqueous solution under UV light irradiation. LaFeO3 was synthesized via solution combustion synthesis and different amount of Ni were dispersed on LaFeO3 surface through deposition method in aqueous solution and using NaBH4 as reducing agent. The prepared samples were characterized with different techniques: Raman spectroscopy, UltraViolet-Visible Diffuse Reflectance Spettroscopy (UV–Vis-DRS), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), Transmission Electron microscopy (TEM), and Scanning Electron microscopy (SEM) analyses. For all the investigated photocatalysts, the presence of Ni on perovskite surface resulted in a better activity compared to pure LaFeO3. In particular, it is possible to identify an optimal amount of Ni for which it is possible to obtain the best hydrogen production. Specifically, the results showed that the optimal Ni amount was equal to nominal 0.12 wt% (0.12Ni/LaFeO3), for which the photocatalytic H2 production was equal to 2574 μmol/L after 4 h of UV irradiation. The influence of different of photocatalyst dosage and initial glucose concentration was also evaluated. The results of the optimization of operating parameters indicated that the highest molecular hydrogen production was achieved on 0.12Ni/LaFeO3 sample with 1.5 g/L of catalyst dosage and 1000 ppm initial glucose concentration. To determine the reactive species that play the most significant role in the photocatalytic hydrogen production, photocatalytic tests in the presence of different radical scavengers were performed. The results showed that •OH radical plays a significant role in the photocatalytic conversion of glucose in H2. Moreover, photocatalytic tests carried out with D2O instead of H2O evidenced the role of water molecules in the photocatalytic production of molecular hydrogen in glucose aqueous solution.

December, 2021 | DOI:

Au and Pt Remain Unoxidized on a CeO2-Based Catalyst during the Water-Gas Shift Reaction

Reina, TR; Gonzalez-Castano, M; Lopez-Flores, V; Martinez, LMT; Zitolo, A; Ivanova, S; Xu, WQ; Centeno, MA; Rodriguez, JA; Odriozola, JA
Journal of the American Chemical Society, (2021)


The active forms of Au and Pt in CeO2-based catalysts for the water-gas shift (WGS) reaction are an issue that remains unclear, although it has been widely studied. On one hand, ionic species might be responsible for weakening the Ce-O bonds, thus increasing the oxygen mobility and WGS activity. On the other hand, the close contact of Au or Pt atoms with CeO2 oxygen vacancies at the metal-CeO2 interface might provide the active sites for an efficient reaction. In this work, using in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy, we demonstrate that both Au and Pt remain unoxidized during the reaction. Remarkable differences involving the dynamics established by both species under WGS atmospheres were recognized. For the prereduced Pt catalyst, the increase of the conversion coincided with a restructuration of the Pt atoms into cuboctahedrical metallic particles without significant variations on the overall particle size. Contrary to the relatively static behavior of Pt-0, Au-0 nanoparticles exhibited a sequence of particle splitting and agglomeration while maintaining a zero oxidation state despite not being located in a metallic environment during the process. High WGS activity was obtained when Au atoms were surrounded by oxygen. The fact that Au preserves its unoxidized state indicates that the chemical interaction between Au and oxygen must be necessarily electrostatic and that such an electrostatic interaction is fundamental for a top performance in the WGS process.

December, 2021 | DOI: 10.1021/jacs.1c10481

Polyaniline coated tungsten trioxide as an effective adsorbent for the removal of orange G dye from aqueous media

Hsini, A.; Naciri, Y.; Bouziani, A.; Aarab, N.; Essekri, A; Imgharn, A.; Laabd. M.; Navío, J.A.;Puga, F.; Lakhmirid, R.; Albourine, A.
RSC Advances, 11 (2021) 31272-31283


In this work, the core–shell PANI@WO3 composite was obtained from the reaction of aniline monomer polymerization with WO3 particles; sodium persulfate was used as an oxidant. Various analytical techniques such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) were used to characterize the as-prepared PANI@WO3 adsorbent, which well confirmed that the WO3 particles were coated by polyaniline polymer. The PANI@WO3 composite was tested as an adsorbent to remove reactive orange G (OG) for the first time. pH, adsorbent dose, contact time, initial dye concentration, and temperature were systematically investigated in order to study their effect on the adsorption process. The experimental findings showed that the PANI@WO3 composite has considerable potential to remove an aqueous OG dye. Langmuir and Freundlich's models were used to analyze the equilibrium isotherms of OG dye adsorption on the PANI@WO3 composite. As a result, the best correlation of the experimental data was provided by the Langmuir model, and the maximum capacity of adsorption was 226.50 mg g−1. From a thermodynamic point of view, the OG dye adsorption process occurred spontaneously and endothermically. Importantly, PANI@WO3 still exhibited an excellent adsorption capability after four regeneration cycles, indicating the potential reusability of the PANI@WO3 composite. These results indicate that the as prepared PANI@WO3 composite could be employed as an efficient adsorbent and was much better than the parent material adsorption of OG dye.

November, 2021 | DOI: 10.1039/D1RA04135E

Influence of helium incorporation on growth process and properties of aluminum thin films deposited by DC magnetron sputtering

Ibrahim, S; Lahboub, FZ; Brault, P; Petit, A; Caillard, A; Millon, E; Sauvage, T; Fernandez, A; Thomann, Al
Surface & Coatings Technology, 426 (2021)


The effect of helium content on the morphology, crystallinity, and composition of aluminum films was investigated by depositing He-loaded Al films onto Si substrates via direct current (DC) magnetron sputtering in different Ar/He plasma mixtures. Three different plasma regimes were identified depending on the percentage of He in the gas phase. For a low He to total gas ratio (ΓHe ≤ 70%), the plasma is dominated by argon, where Ar+ ions contribute to sputter out the target atoms. The films deposited in this regime exhibited the classical dense columnar structure and contain very low amount of He (below 2%). Then, as ΓHe increases, helium ions begin to be formed and more fast He neutrals reach the substrate, affecting the film growth. As He amount increased in the gas phase up to 95%, the proportion of He inserted in the films rised up to ⁓15 at. %. Moreover, bubbles/porosity were formed inside the films; those obtained in pure He plasma presented a highly porous fiberform nanostructure. All results confirmed that the modification of the film characteristics was related to the change of the deposition conditions when Ar was replaced by He and to the insertion/release mechanisms of He during the growth.

November, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2021.127808

By-products revaluation in the production of design micaceous materials

Mouchet, A; Raffin, F; Cota, A; Osuna, FJ; Pavon, E; Alba, MD
Aplied Clay Science, 214 (2021) 106292


One of the main objectives of a sustainable development and circular economy is the recycling of by-products generated in industrial and agricultural production processes. One of the possible solution is the use of such by-product materials in the synthesis of environmental adsorbents. In the current research, we present the synthesis of a high charge swelling mica with enhance adsorbent properties from blast furnace slag and rice husk ash. Moreover, to ensure the sustainable synthesis a natural bentoniteis used as Si and Al source. Thus, the current study investigated the fabrication of swelling high charged micas, Na-Mn (n (layer charge) = 2 or 4), from FEBEX bentonite, blast furnace slag and rice husk ash thorough the NaCl melt method. The reaction yield, cation framework distribution and structural characteristic of micas have been studied thorough X-ray Diffraction and Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. The yields of Na-Mn synthesis and degree of purity of the mica depends on the nature of these precursors. Thus, a sustainable, non-expensive and environmental friendly process has been evaluated.

November, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.clay.2021.106292

Extraction of microstructural parameters from sculptured thin films nanoindentation

Gaillard, Y; Jimenez-Pique, E; Oliva-Ramirez, M; Rico, VJ; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Surface & Coatings Technology, 425 (2021) 127696


This work deals with the indentation analysis of nanocolumnar thin films and the difficulties encountered to deduce relevant mechanical parameters by this methodology. SiO2 thin films prepared by physical vapour oblique angle deposition with different nanocolumnar microstructures have been subjected to indentation analysis. Despite the fact that the films had been made of the same material, deposited on the same substrate and had similar thickness, their indentation responses were different and depended on their particular microstructure. It has been also realised that the measured hardness and elastic modulus variation with the indentation depth were length scale dependent and that there is not a unique analytical thin-film nanoindentation model to extract the mechanical properties from the experimental nanoindentation curves. To overcome these limitations a numerical finite element model (FEM) of the nanocolumnar coatings has been built to figure out the contributions of the different physical phenomena intervening in the indentation process. This FEM simulation relies on a description of the elasto-plastic microstructural units of the coatings and the contact friction interactions between them. Based on this simulation a parametrical representation, incorporating two length scales and the contributions of densification and/or the buckling of nanocolumnar units, has been developed to account for the evolution of the apparent elastic modulus deduced from numerical indentation tests. A Hall-Petch modification of this description considering two length scales instead of the common approximation considering a single length scale has rendered the best agreement with the elastic values determined experimentally. Although, at the present stage, the particular microstructure of the films can not be deduced from the evolution of their elastic moduli with the indentation depth, the obtained results and their interpretation constitute a first though essential step for the elaboration of an inverse analysis methodology capable of correlating microstructure and elastic response of nanocolumnar coatings.

November, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2021.127696

Impact of flame confinement with inert ceramic foams on the particulate emissions of domestic heating systems

Ciria, D; Orihuela, MP; Becerra, JA; Chacartegui, R.; Ramirez-Rico, J.
Fuel, 304 (2021) 121264


Small solid biomass combustion systems are among the main contributors to the global particulate emissions share, and cheap, efficient abatement systems are not yet available for them. The placement of inert porous material to confine the combustion region is being recently explored as a possible mitigation system for this kind of pollution. However, given the complexity of biomass thermochemical decomposition processes, it is challenging to justify the performance of these systems on the basis of a physicochemical understanding. A foundational experiment-based study is carried out in this work to understand how combustion confinement affects the particulate emissions production mechanisms. A combustion unit was designed and built to systematically test ceramic foams with different porosities: keeping constant airflow and fuel feed rates. A comprehensive characterisation study was carried out on the solid biomass fuel, the temperature profile, the particulate emissions, and the remaining solid residue. The results evidenced that the use of foams has a substantial impact on the temperature distribution in the combustion chamber. The higher the cell density of the foam, the higher and more homogeneous are the temperatures reached in the combustion bed. This fact improved the thermal decomposition process of the pellets due to a better air-fuel mixture, leading to a reduction of the solid particulate matter emissions by more than 70%. These findings suggest that the use of an inert porous material above the combustion region might be a feasible solution for particulate emission control in small-size biomass combustion technology.

November, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2021.121264

Assessing the impact of textural properties in Ni-Fe catalysts for CO2 methanation performance

Gonzalez-Castano, M; de Miguel, JCN; Boelte, JH; Centeno, MA; Klepel, O; Arellano-Garcia, H
Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 327 (2021) 111405


In heterogeneous catalysis, the benefits of employing adequate textural properties on the catalytic performances are usually stated. Nevertheless, the quantification of the extent of improvement is not an easy task since variations on the catalysts' specific areas and pore structures might involve modifications on a number of other surface catalytic features. This study establishes the impact of the catalyst textural properties on the CO2 methanation performance by investigating bimetallic Ni–Fe catalysts supported over carbon supports with different textural properties regarding surface area and pore structure. The comparable metal loading and dispersions attained for all systems enabled establishing forthright relationships between the catalyst textural properties and CO2 methanation rate. Once the influence of the external mass diffusions on the catalysts’ performance was experimentally discarded, the estimated Thiele modulus and internal effectiveness (φ and ηEff) values showed that the catalyst performance was majorly governed by the surface reaction rate whilst the pore size affected in no significant manner within the examined range (Dpore = 10.2 to 5.8 nm). Therefore, the rapport between the catalyst performance and surface area was quantified for the CO2 methanation reaction over Ni–Fe catalysts: increasing the surface area from 572 to 802 m2/g permit obtaining ca. 10% higher CO2 conversions.

November, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.micromeso.2021.111405

Waterproof-breathable films from multi-branched fluorinated cellulose esters

Tedeschi, G; Guzman-Puyol, S; Ceseracciu, L; Benitez, JJ; Goldoni, L; Koschella, A; Heinze, T; Cavallo, G; Dichiarante, V; Terraneo, G; Athanassiou, A; Metrangolo, P; Heredia-Guerrero, JA
Carbohydrate Polymers, 271 (2021) 118031


Cellulose ester films were prepared by esterification of cellulose with a multibranched fluorinated carboxylic acid, "BRFA" (BRanched Fluorinated Acid), at different anhydroglucose unit:BRFA molar ratios (i.e., 1:0, 10:1, 5:1, and 1:1). Morphological and optical analyses showed that cellulose-BRFA materials at molar ratios 10:1 and 5:1 formed flat and transparent films, while the one at 1:1 M ratio formed rough and translucent films. Degrees of substitution (DS) of 0.06, 0.09, and 0.23 were calculated by NMR for the samples at molar ratios 10:1, 5:1, and 1:1, respectively. ATR-FTIR spectroscopy confirmed the esterification. DSC thermograms showed a single glass transition, typical of amorphous polymers, at -11 degrees C. The presence of BRFA groups shifted the mechanical behavior from rigid to ductile and soft with increasing DS. Wettability was similar to standard fluoropolymers such as PTFE and PVDF. Finally, breathability and water uptake were characterized and found comparable to materials typically used in textiles.

November, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2021.118031

Development of a novel PANI@WO3 hybrid composite and its application as a promising adsorbent for Cr(VI) ions removal

Abdelghani Hsinia, Yassine Naciri, Mohamed Laabd, Asmae Bouziani, J.A.Navío, F.Puga, Rabah Boukherroub, Rajae Lakhmiri, Abdallah Albourine
Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering, 9 (2021) 105885


In the current study, an in-situ oxidative polymerization method was used to synthesize polyaniline-coated tungsten trioxide biphasic composite (PANI@WO3). The as-developed composite material properties were elucidated using different characterization tools such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), N2 sorption-desorption isotherm, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The PANI@WO3 was further applied to remove hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) from aqueous solutions. The results demonstrated that the optimal removal efficacy was achieved at pH 2. Meanwhile, the pseudo-second-order kinetic and isotherm of the Langmuir model were fitted for Cr(VI) adsorption. Cr(VI) amount of 549.37 mg·g−1 was the maximum capacity of adsorption attained for PANI@WO3, which is significantly higher than that of existing adsorbents. From a thermodynamic point of view, the Cr(VI) adsorption process occurred spontaneously and endothermically. Importantly, PANI@WO3 still exhibited an excellent adsorption capability after five regeneration cycles, indicating the potential reusability of the PANI@WO3 composite. XPS analysis of PANI@WO3 surface after adsorption of Cr(VI) confirmed its adsorption and concomitant reduction into Cr(III) ions. The transfer of mass phenomenon, electrostatic attraction, and reduction reaction were the primary processes for Cr(VI) ions elimination. These findings revealed that the synthesized PANI@WO3 exhibited a high potential for wastewater treatment containing Cr(VI).

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jece.2021.105885