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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

Photonic sensor systems for the identification of hydrocarbons and crude oils in static and flow conditions

Gil-Rostra, J; Quintero-Moreno, S; Rico, VJ; Yubero, F; Sanza, FJ; Casquel, R; Gallo-Valverde, E; Jara-Galan, ME; Sanz-Sanz, P; Holgado, M; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Sensors and Actuators B-Chemical, 344 (2021) 130265


Identification of hydrocarbons and crude oils is typically carried out with samples that, taken from natural sources or refineries, must be brought to the laboratory for their analysis with rather sophisticated instruments. Alternatively, "in situ" procedures have been also developed for this purpose. In this work, we propose the use of a series of several sensor systems based on photonic transducers in the form of chips for the identification and classification of crude oils and hydrocarbons through the determination of their refractive index in the visible and absorption in the near infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Two of the photonic transducers rely on modifications of a Bragg microcavity and they monitor the changes in visible light interference phenomena that occur in response to the variation of the refractive index of oils. The third one, in the form of a dielectric mirror, monitors the near infrared absorption of crude oils and hydrocarbons through the recording of a transflectance spectrum. The capacity of these transducers for crude oil identification is proved by the analysis of a series of oils and distilled fractions that have been properly identified and classified as a function of their density and partition of long hydrocarbon chains. The three photonic transducers are operated with optical fibers and can be used in static and dynamic modes, this latter under conditions that are especially well-suited for "insitu" analysis of oil streams in real facilities. The proved resistance of the chips to high pressure and temperature conditions supports their suitability to withstand harsh working environments as those existing in extraction wells.

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2021.130265

Plasma-Assisted Deposition of TiO2 3D Nanomembranes: Selective Wetting, Superomniphobicity, and Self-Cleaning

Montes, L; Roman, JM; Garcia-Casas, X; Castillo-Seoane, J; Sanchez-Valencia, JR; Barranco, A; Lopez-Santos, C; Borras, A
Advanced Materials Interfaces (2021) 2100767


Fabrication of tunable wetting surfaces is sought for the last years given its importance on energy, biomaterials and antimicrobials, water purification, microfluidics, and smart surfaces. Liquid management on surfaces mainly depends on the control at the micro- and nanoscale of both roughness and chemical composition. Herein, the combination of a soft-template method and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition is presented for the synthesis of TiO2 nanofibers on porous substrates such as cellulose and stainless-steel membranes. The protocol, carried out under mild conditions, produces 3D nanomembranes with superhydrophobicity and oleophilicity that are tested as microliter water/oil filters. Photoactivation of TiO2 by UV illumination provides a straightforward approach for wetting tunability that converts the surface into amphiphilic. A final chemical modification of the TiO2 nanofibers by embedding them in an elastomeric polymeric shell and by fluorine-based grafting opens the path toward the formation of superomniphobic and self-cleaning surfaces with long-lasting lifetimes. Thus, a reliable procedure is demonstrated for the fabrication of TiO2 nanofibers, which allows the modification of porous supports and provides an innovative route for the development of 3D nanomembranes with under design wetting. This protocol is extendable to alternative metal oxides, metals, and core@shell nanoarchitectures with potential multifunctionalities.

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.1002/admi.202100767

HfB2 ceramic polycrystals: A low-temperature metal-like ceramic at high temperatures?

Zapata-Solvas, E; Moshtaghioun, BM; Gomez-Garcia, D; Dominguez-Rodriguez, A; Lee, WE
Scripta Materialia, 203 (2021) 114037


Hafnium diboride (HfB2) is a highly refractory (melting above 3000 degrees C) ceramic with many potential applications at high temperatures. To enable its use at temperature for extended periods its high-temperature plasticity must be known. This paper examines the mechanical response at temperatures between 900 degrees C and 2000 degrees C in air and in a reducing atmosphere, interpreting the data in the frame of classical models for the plasticity of compact-packed metals at low temperatures. In particular, the Friedel law and the principle of similitude for dislocation patterning are assessed. This reveals that HfB2 is a singular example of a ceramic material with "metal" mechanical behaviour.

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.scriptamat.2021.114037

Effect of potassium loading on basic properties of Ni/MgAl2O4 catalyst for CO2 reforming of methane

Azancot, L; Bobadilla, LF; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Journal of CO2 Utilization, 52 (2021) 101681


Coke deposition is one of the key issues in the dry reforming of methane on Ni catalysts. In the present work, we investigate the effect of potassium addition for suppressing carbon deposition in the Dry Reforming of Methane. The results obtained demonstrated that potassium contents above 3 wt% promote carbon gasification, favouring both Reverse Water Gas Shift and Boudouard reaction. Strong basic Mg-O-K sites are responsible for these reactions allowing the suppression of carbon deposits and allowing the stability of the catalyst.

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jcou.2021.101681

Photocatalytic Treatment of Stained Wastewater Coming from Handicraft Factories. A Case Study at the Pilot Plant Level

Murcia Mesa, JJ; Hernández Niño, JS; González, W; Rojas, H; Hidalgo, MC; Navío, JA
Water, 13 (2021) 2705


UV/H2O2 process and TiO2-based photocatalysis were studied in the present work. The effectiveness of these methods was tested in the treatment of effluents taken from handicraft factories. Microorganisms, dyes, and different organic pollutants were detected in the industrial effluents. The experimental procedure for the wastewater treatment was carried out in a patented sunlight reactor on a pilot plant scale. From this study, UV/H2O2 was found to be the best treatment for dye elimination. The optimal peroxide dosage for the degradation of dyes and the elimination of bacteria was 0.07 M. In this case, 70.80% of discoloration was achieved after 7 h of sunlight exposure, under an average sunlight intensity of 3.42 W/m2. The photocatalytic treatment based on TiO2 achieved the highest elimination of coliform bacteria and the lowest TOC value; however, the presence of this material in the reactor had a detrimental effect on the overall elimination of dyes. A combination of both UV/H2O2 and TiO2 treatments significantly improves the dyes discoloration, the elimination of bacteria, and the organic compounds degradation. Some of the results of this study were presented at the 4th Congreso Colombiano de Procesos Avanzados de Oxidación, 4CCPAOx. 

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/w13192705

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

Mechanically Switchable Wetting Petal Effect in Self-Patterned Nanocolumnar Films on Poly(dimethylsiloxane)

Parra-Barranco, J; Lopez-Santos, C; Sanchez-Valencia, JR; Borras, A; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Barranco, A
Nanomaterials, 11 (2021) 2566


Switchable mechanically induced changes in the wetting behavior of surfaces are of paramount importance for advanced microfluidic, self-cleaning and biomedical applications. In this work we show that the well-known polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer develops self-patterning when it is coated with nanostructured TiO2 films prepared by physical vapor deposition at glancing angles and subsequently subjected to a mechanical deformation. Thus, unlike the disordered wrinkled surfaces typically created by deformation of the bare elastomer, well-ordered and aligned micro-scaled grooves form on TiO2/PDMS after the first post-deposition bending or stretching event. These regularly patterned surfaces can be reversibly modified by mechanical deformation, thereby inducing a switchable and reversible wetting petal effect and the sliding of liquid droplets. When performed in a dynamic way, this mechanical actuation produces a unique capacity of liquid droplets (water and diiodomethane) transport and tweezing, this latter through their selective capture and release depending on their volume and chemical characteristics. Scanning electron and atomic force microscopy studies of the strained samples showed that a dual-scale roughness, a parallel alignment of patterned grooves and their reversible widening upon deformation, are critical factors controlling this singular sliding behavior and the possibility to tailor their response by the appropriate manufacturing of surface structures.

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/nano11102566

Relevance of Particle Size Distribution to Kinetic Analysis: The Case of Thermal Dehydroxylation of Kaolinite

Arcenegui-Troya, J;Sanchez-Jimenez, PE; Perejon, A; Perez-Maqueda, LA
Processes, 9 (2021) 1852


Kinetic models used for the kinetic analysis of solid-state reactions assume ideal conditions that are very rarely fulfilled by real processes. One of the assumptions of these ideal models is that all sample particles have an identical size, while most real samples have an inherent particle size distribution (PSD). In this study, the influence of particle size distribution, including bimodal PSD, in kinetic analysis is investigated. Thus, it is observed that PSD can mislead the identification of the kinetic model followed by the reaction and even induce complex thermoanalytical curves that could be misinterpreted in terms of complex kinetics or intermediate species. For instance, in the case of a bimodal PSD, kinetics is affected up to the point that the process resembles a reaction driven by a multi-step mechanism. A procedure for considering the PSD in the kinetic analysis is presented and evaluated experimentally by studying the thermal dehydroxylation of kaolinite. This process, which does not fit any of the common ideal kinetic models proposed in the literature, was analyzed considering PSD influence. However, when PSD is taken into account, the process can be successfully described by a 3-D diffusion model (Jander's equation). Therefore, it is concluded that the deviations from ideal models for this dehydroxylation process could be explained in terms of PSD.

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/pr9101852

Scaling-up the Calcium-Looping Process for CO2 Capture and Energy Storage

Ortiz, C; Valverde, JM; Chacartegui, R; Perez-Maqueda, LA; Gimenez-Gavarrell, P
Kona Powder and Particle Journal, 38 (2021) 189-209


The Calcium-Looping (CaL) process has emerged in the last years as a promising technology to face two key challenges within the future energy scenario: energy storage in renewable energy-based plants and CO2 capture from fossil fuel combustion. Based on the multicycle calcination-carbonation reaction of CaCO3 for both thermochemical energy storage and post-combustion CO2 capture applications, the operating conditions for each application may involve remarkably different characteristics regarding kinetics, heat transfer and material multicycle activity performance. The novelty and urgency of developing these applications demand an important effort to overcome serious issues, most of them related to gas-solids reactions and material handling. This work reviews the latest results from international research projects including a critical assessment of the technology needed to scale up the process. A set of equipment and methods already proved as well as those requiring further demonstration are discussed. An emphasis is put on critical equipment such as gas-solids reactors for both calcination and carbonation, power block integration, gas and solids conveying systems and auxiliary equipment for both energy storage and CO2 capture CaL applications.

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.14356/kona.2021005

Pure perovskite BiFeO3-BaTiO3 ceramics prepared by reaction flash sintering of Bi2O3-Fe2O3-BaTiO3 mixed powders

Taibi, A; Chaguetmi, S; Sánchez-Jiménez, PE; Perejón, A; García, JE; Satha, H; Pérez-Maqueda, LA
Ceramics International, 47 (2021) 26947-26954


In this work, the 0.67BiFeO(3)-0.33BaTiO(3) ferroelectric ceramic was prepared by Reaction Flash Sintering (RFS). This preparation technique combines synthesis and sintering in a single Flash experiment. The starting oxides reacted during the flash to produce a stoichiometric well-sintered solid solution at a temperature of 858 degrees C by applying a modest field of 35 V cm(-1). The process takes place in a matter of seconds, which allows obtaining a pure perovskite structure without secondary phases. X-ray diffraction (XRD) results show the mixture of rhombohedral and pseudocubic phases expected for a composition that lies within a morphotropic phase boundary (MPB) region, since a significant splitting is observed in the reflections at 2 theta values of 39 degrees and 56.5 degrees. The microstructure exhibit a peculiar bimodal grain size distribution that determines the electrical properties. As compared with previous results, flash-prepared 0.67BiFeO(3)-0.33BaTiO(3) evidences smaller grain size, as well as slightly lower remanent polarization (P-r) and smaller coercive field (E-c) under similar electric fields. It is also demonstrated that the preparation by RFS provides benefits regarding electrical energy consumption.

October, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.ceramint.2021.06.108

Effect of Al content on the hardness and thermal stability study of AlTiN and AlTiBN coatings deposited by HiPIMS

Mendez, A; Monclus, MA; Santiago, JA; Fernandez-Martinez, I; Rojas, TC; Garcia-Molleja, J; Avella, M; Dams, N; Panizo-Laiz, M; Molina-Aldareguia, JM
Surface & Coatings Technology, 422 (2021) 127513


The microstructure, mechanical properties and thermal stability of AT(x)Ti(1-x)N and Al1Ti1-xBN coatings grown by reactive high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) have been analyzed as a function of Al/(Al + Ti) ratio (x) between 0.5 and 0.8. The coatings were predominantly formed by a face-centered cubic Ti(Al)N crystalline phase, both with and without B, even for x ratios as high as 0.6, which is higher than the ratio typically encountered for AlxTi1-xN coatings deposited by reactive magnetron sputtering. B doping, in combination with the highly energetic deposition conditions offered by HiPIMS, results in the suppression of the columnar grain morphology typically encountered in AlxTi1-xN coatings. On the contrary, the AlxTi1-xN coatings grown by HiPIMS present a dense nanocomposite type microstructure, formed by nanocrystalline Ti(Al) N domains and amorphous regions composed of Ti(Al)B 2 and BN. As a result, high-Al content (x approximate to 0.6) AlxTi1-xN coatings grown by HiPIMS offer higher hardness, elasticity and fracture toughness than AlxTi1-xN coatings. Moreover, the thermal stability and the hot hardness are substantially enhanced, delaying the onset of formation of the detrimental hexagonal AlN phase from 850 degrees C in the case of Al0.6Ti0.4N, to 1000 degrees C in the case of Al0.6Ti0.4N.

September, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2021.127513

Photocatalytic production of hydrogen and methane from glycerol reforming over Pt/TiO2–Nb2O5

Iervolino, G; Vaiano, V; Murcia, JJ; Lara, AE; Hernández, JS; Rojas, H; Navío, JA; Hidalgo, MC
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy


In this study, platinized mixed oxides (TiO2–Nb2O5) were tested on photocatalytic hydrogen production from a glycerol solution under UV light. Different samples with different Ti:Nb ratios were prepared by using a simple method that simultaneously combined a physical mixture and a platinum photochemical reduction. This method led to improved physicochemical properties such as low band gap, better Pt nanoparticle distribution on the surface, and the formation of different Pt species. Niobia content was also found to be an important factor in determining the overall efficiency of the Pt–TiO2–Nb2O5 photocatalyst in the glycerol reforming reaction. The photocatalytic results showed that Pt on TiO2–Nb2O5 enhanced hydrogen production from the aqueous glycerol solution at a 5 wt% initial glycerol concentration. The influence of different operating conditions such as the catalyst dosage and initial glycerol concentration was also evaluated. The results indicated that the best hydrogen and methane production was equal to 6657 μmol/L and 194 μmol/L, respectively after 4 h of UV radiation using Pt/Ti:Nb (1:2) sample and with 3 g/L of catalyst dosage. Moreover, the role of water in photocatalytic hydrogen production was studied through photocatalytic activity tests in the presence of D2O. The obtained results confirmed the role of water molecules on the photocatalytic production of hydrogen in an aqueous glycerol solution.

September, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2021.09.111

Nb-C thin films prepared by DC-MS and HiPIMS: Synthesis, structure, and tribomechanical properties

Sala, N; Abad, MD; Sánchez-López, JC; Caro, J; Colominas, C
Surface & Coatings Technology, 422 (2021) 127569


Nanostructured Nb-C thin films were prepared by direct current magnetron sputtering (DC-MS) and high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS). The films were characterized in depth by X-ray diffraction (XRD), grazing incidence X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, and Raman spectroscopy. The mechanical properties were measured by nanoindentation, and the tribological properties were measured by pin-on-disk tests in ambient air. The wear tracks and ball scars were analyzed by Raman spectroscopy to elucidate the tribochemical reactions that occurred at the contact area and to determine the wear mechanism for each specimen type. The thermal stability of the coatings was studied up to 1000 degrees C using Raman spectroscopy and XRD. The samples prepared by DC-MS were very dense, and the phase composition changed from purely nanocrystalline (Nb2C and NbC) to a mixture of NbC crystals embedded in an amorphous carbon-based matrix (NbC/a-C(:H)). However, the samples prepared by HiPIMS developed a marked columnar morphology with a NbC/a-C(:H) nanocomposite structure. The hardness values ranged from 11 to 20 GPa depending on the deposition technique and the amount of the soft a-C(:H) phase present in the sample. The tribological properties of all the coatings were remarkably good when the carbon content was approximately 50 at.%. The formation of a lubricating sp(2)-rich C tribofilm between the ball and coating during the pin-on-disk tests was observed by Raman spectroscopy. The tribofilm formed preferentially on the samples prepared by HiPIMS, which had higher C contents. At 750 degrees C, the degradation of the NbC phases resulted in the formation of an additional a-C phase and niobium oxides.

September, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2021.127569

Si sputtering yield amplification: a study of the collisions cascade and species in the sputtering plasma

Cruz, J; Sangines, S; Soto-Valle; Muhl; Sierra, I; De Lucio-Morales, O; Mitrani, A; Calderon-Olvera, RM; Mendoza-Perez, R; Machorro-Mejia, R
Journal of Physics D-Applied Physics, 54 (2021) 375201


The sputtering yield amplification (SYA) is a phenomenon based on doping a sputtering target with atoms of higher atomic mass. This doping changes the depth and the direction of the collision cascade in the target surface promoting a higher ejection of target atoms. In this work, we present a new way of generating the SYA phenomenon without the need of expensive and complex deposition systems. This was accomplished by increasing the working pressure and adding small pieces of W, as dopant element, on the racetrack of a Si target. The physical phenomena necessary to promote the SYA, for our experimental parameters, were analysed in two different deposition chambers and two sizes of sputtering targets. Based on the collisions in the gas phase, a calculation on the number of W atoms returning to the racetrack area was made, considering the number of atoms deposited on the thin films, to determine their effect on the cascade of collisions. In addition, calculations with the simulation of metal transport code were developed to determine the location on the racetrack zone the returning atoms were redeposited. By using reference samples placed on the racetrack of the Si target, we found that the percentage of SYA depends on the number of dopant atoms redeposited as well as the depth distribution these atoms had in the racetrack surface.

September, 2021 | DOI: 10.1088/1361-6463/ac0c4e

Pd-C Catalytic Thin Films Prepared by Magnetron Sputtering for the Decomposition of Formic Acid

Arzac, GM; Fernandez, A; Godinho, V; Hufschmidt, D; de Haro, MCJ; Medran, B; Montes, O
Nanomaterials, 11 (2021) 2326


Formic acid is an advantageous liquid organic hydrogen carrier. It is relatively nontoxic and can be synthesized by the reaction of CO2 with sustainable hydrogen or by biomass decomposition. As an alternative to more widely studied powdery catalysts, supported Pd-C catalytic thin films with controlled nanostructure and compositions were newly prepared in this work by magnetron sputtering on structured supports and tested for the formic acid decomposition reaction. A two-magnetron configuration (carbon and tailored Pd-C targets) was used to achieve a reduction in Pd consumption and high catalyst surface roughness and dispersion by increasing the carbon content. Activity and durability tests were carried out for the gas phase formic acid decomposition reaction on SiC foam monoliths coated with the Pd-C films and the effects of column width, surface roughness and thermal pre-reduction time were investigated. Activity of 5.04 mol(H2)center dot g(Pd)(-1)center dot h(-1) and 92% selectivity to the dehydrogenation reaction were achieved at 300 degrees C for the catalyst with a lower column width and higher carbon content and surface roughness. It was also found that deactivation occurs when Pd is sintered due to the elimination of carbon and/or the segregation and agglomeration of Pd upon cycling. Magnetron sputtering deposition appears as a promising and scalable route for the one-step preparation of Pd-C catalytic films by overcoming the different deposition characteristics of Pd and C with an appropriate experimental design.

September, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/nano11092326

Structure-sensitivity of formic acid dehydrogenation reaction over additive-free Pd NPs supported on activated carbon

Santos, J.L.; Megías-Sayago, C.; Ivanova, S.; Centeno, M.A.; Odriozola, J.A.
Chemical Engineering Journal, 420 (2021) 127641


In this study the size-activity dependence of palladium based catalysts in formic acid dehydrogenation reaction was investigated and evaluated. A wide range of particle sizes was considered and the catalyst series were prepared upon variation of some synthetic parameters, precursor and solvent nature in particular. Synthesis method variations affect significantly Pd particle size and results in diverse activity toward hydrogen production. An optimal size was observed and explained by the diverse proportion of low and high coordinated Pd states available for different samples within the series. The evaluation of particles much bigger than 6 nm changes importantly the fraction of high and low coordination atoms and allows the clear confirmation of the importance of the presence of low coordination atoms on the surface of catalyst.

September, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2020.127641

Mesoporous Carbon Production by Nanocasting Technique Using Boehmite as a Template

Ortega-Franqueza, M; Ivanova, S; Dominguez, MI; Centeno, MA
Catalysts, 11 (2021) 1132


A series of mesoporous carbonaceous materials were synthesized by the nanocasting technique using boehmite as a template and glucose as a carbon precursor. After pyrolysis and template removal, the resulting material is a mesoporous carbon that can be additionally doped with N, B and K during prepyrolysis impregnation. In addition, the influence of doping on the morphology, crystallinity and stability of the synthesized carbons was studied using X-ray diffraction, nitrogen physisorption, thermogravimetry, Raman and IR spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. While the nanocasting process is effective for the formation of mesopores, KOH and urea do not modify the textural properties of carbon. The use of H3PO4 as a dopant, however, led to the formation of an AlPO4 compound and resulted in a solid with a lower specific surface area and higher microporosity. All doped solids present higher thermal stability as a positive effect of the introduction of heteroatoms to the carbon skeleton. The phosphorus-doped sample has better oxidation resistance, with a combustion temperature 120-150 degrees C higher than those observed for the other materials.

September, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/catal11091132

Examination of the Deactivation Cycle of NiAl- and NiMgAl-Hydrotalcite Derived Catalysts in the Dry Reforming of Methane

Abdelsadek, Z.; Holgado, J.P.; Halliche, D.; Caballero, A.; Cherifi, O.; Gonzalez-Cortes, S.; Masset, P.J.
Catalysis Letters, 151 (2021) 2696-2715


The importance of the dry reforming of methane (DRM) lies in its capability to upgrade two greenhouse gases (CH4 and CO2) into synthesis gas (CO and H-2), which is one of the main building block for synthesizing hydrocarbons. However, the Ni-based catalysts for DRM reaction usually have a major catalytic stability drawback. This works aims to assess the catalytic activity and stability of two Ni-based catalysts obtained from hydrotalcite (HT) precursors (i.e., NiAl-HT and NiMgAl-HT). The precursors, calcined (-c), reduced (-R) and spent samples were characterized by a series of techniques to gain insight into the influence of MgO over Ni-based catalyst in the drying reforming of methane. An in-situ ageing cycle process to speed up the deactivation of hydrotalcite-derived catalysts showed that the NiMgAl-HTc-R catalyst displayed a higher activity and resistance to coke formation (stability) than NiAl-HTc-R because of the introduction of Mg into hydrotalcite structure in the catalyst precursor. The presence of this element enhances several factors involved in the stability of Ni-based catalysts for the DRM process such as the reducibility and textural features of the catalysts, size and dispersion of Ni-0 nanoparticles and also maintains a good compromise between the acid and base properties of the solid catalysts.

September, 2021 | DOI: 10.1007/s10562-020-03513-4

Study of the Influence of Sintering Atmosphere and Mechanical Activation on the Synthesis of Bulk Ti2AlN MAX Phase Obtained by Spark Plasma Sintering

Salvo, C; Chicardi, E; García-Garrido, C; Poyato, R; Jimenez, JA; Mangalaraja, RV
Materials, 14 (2021) 4574


The influence of the mechanical activation process and sintering atmosphere on the microstructure and mechanical properties of bulk Ti2AlN has been investigated. The mixture of Ti and AlN powders was prepared in a 1:2 molar ratio, and a part of this powder mixture was subjected to a mechanical activation process under an argon atmosphere for 10 h using agate jars and balls as milling media. Then, the sintering and production of the Ti2AlN MAX phase were carried out by Spark Plasma Sintering under 30 MPa with vacuum or nitrogen atmospheres and at 1200 degrees C for 10 min. The crystal structure and microstructure of consolidated samples were characterized by X-ray Diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscopy, and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy. The X-ray diffraction patterns were fitted using the Rietveld refinement for phase quantification and determined their most critical microstructural parameters. It was determined that by using nitrogen as a sintering atmosphere, Ti4AlN3 MAX phase and TiN were increased at the expense of the Ti2AlN. In the samples prepared from the activated powders, secondary phases like Ti5Si3 and Al2O3 were formed. However, the higher densification level presented in the sample produced by using both nitrogen atmosphere and MAP powder mixture is remarkable. Moreover, the high-purity Ti2AlN zone of the MAX-1200 presented a hardness of 4.3 GPa, and the rest of the samples exhibited slightly smaller hardness values (4.1, 4.0, and 4.2 GPa, respectively) which are matched with the higher porosity observed on the SEM images.

August, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/ma14164574