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Stepping toward Efficient Microreactors for CO2 Methanation: 3D-Printed Gyroid Geometry

Baena-Moreno, FM; Gonzalez-Castano, M; de Miguel, JCN; Miah, KUM; Ossenbrink, R; Odriozola, J.A.
ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 9 (2021) 8198-8206


This work presents a comparative study toward the development of efficient microreactors based on three-dimensional (3D)-printed structures. Thus, the study evaluates the influence of the metal substrate geometry on the performance of structured catalysts for the CO2 methanation reaction. For this purpose, the 0.5%Ru-15%Ni/MgAl2O4 catalyst is washcoated over two different micromonolithic metal substrates: a conventional parallel channel honeycomb structure and a novel 3D-printed structure with a complex gyroid geometry. The effect of metal substrate geometry is analyzed for several CO2 sources including ideal flue gas atmospheres and the presence of residual CH4 and CO in the flue gas, as well as simulated biogas sources. The advantages of the gyroid 3D complex geometries over the honeycomb structures are shown for all evaluated conditions, providing in the best-case scenario a 14% improvement in CO2 conversion. Moreover, this contribution shows that systematically tailoring geometrical features of structured catalysts becomes an effective strategy to achieve improved catalyst performances independent of the flue gas composition. By enhancing the transport processes and the gas-catalyst interactions, the employed gyroid 3D metal substrates enable boosted CO2 conversions and greater CH4 selectivity within diffusion-controlled regimes.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c01980

Paving the Way to Establish Protocols: Modeling and Predicting Mechanochemical Reactions

Gil-Gonzalez, E; Perez-Maqueda, LA; Sanchez-Jimenez, PE; Perejon, A
Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 12 (2021) 5540-5546


Parametrization of mechanochemical reactions, or relating the evolution of the reaction progress to the supplied input power, is required both to establish protocols and to gain insight into mechanochemical reactions. Thus, results could be compared, replicated, or scaled up even under different milling conditions, enlarging the domains of application of mechanochemistry. Here, we propose a procedure that allows the parametrization of mechanochemical reactions as a function of the supplied input power from the direct analysis of the milling experiments in a model-free approach, where neither the kinetic model function nor the rate constant equation are previously assumed. This procedure has been successfully tested with the mechanochemical reaction of CH3NH3PbCl3, enabling the possibility to make predictions regardless of the milling device as well as gaining insight into the reaction dynamic. This methodology can work for any other mechanical reaction and definitely paves the way to establish mechanochemistry as a standard synthetic procedure.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c01472

Kinetic study of complex processes composed of non-independent stages: pyrolysis of natural rubber

Perejon, A; Sánchez-Jiménez, PE; García-Garrido, C; Pérez-Maqueda, LA
Polymer Degradation and Stability, 188 (2021) 109590


In this work, it is proposed a method for studying kinetics of complex processes composed of non-independent stages. In this method, the variable contribution of the different stages as a function of the heating schedule is taken into account. The method involves the simultaneous kinetic analysis of a set of experimental data registered under linear heating rate conditions, without any previous assumptions regarding the kinetic models followed by the stages or their corresponding activation energies.
The method has been tested with the kinetic analysis of the pyrolysis of natural rubber, since the kinetics of this process is complex and depends on temperature and heating schedule. It is demonstrated that the behavior of the experimental curves can be accurately predicted with the kinetic parameters calculated by the proposed methodology.
The kinetic analysis presented here could be applied to other complex processes as those found in pyrolysis, without the need of using oversimplified kinetic models that could yield significant errors when used in real applications.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2021.109590

In-situ HDO of guaiacol over nitrogen-doped activated carbon supported nickel nanoparticles

Jin, Wei; Pastor-Perez, Laura; Villora-Pico, Juan J.; Mercedes Pastor-Blas, M.; Odriozola, Jose A.; Sepulveda-Escribano, Antonio; Ramirez Reina, Tomas
Applied Catalysis A-General, 620 (2021) 118033


In-situ hydrodeoxygenation of guaiacol over Ni-based nitrogen-doped activated carbon supported catalysts is presented in this paper as an economically viable route for bio-resources upgrading. The overriding concept of this paper is to use water as hydrogen donor for the HDO reaction, suppressing the input of external highpressure hydrogen. The effect of nitrogen sources, including polypyrrole (PPy), polyaniline (PANI) and melamine (Mel) on the structural, electronic and ultimately of catalytic features of the designed materials have been addressed. Nitrogen-doped samples are more active than the undoped counterparts in the "H2-free" HDO process. For instance, the conversion of guaiacol increased by 8 % for Ni/PANI-AC compared to that of Ni/AC catalysts. The superior performance of Ni/NC can be attributed to the acid-base properties and modified electronic properties, which favours the C-O cleavage and water activation as well as enhances dispersion of Ni particles on the catalysts' surface.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcata.2021.118033

The Role of the Atmosphere on the Photophysics of Ligand-Free Lead-Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals

Moran-Pedroso, M; Rubino, A; Calvo, ME; Espinos, JP; Galisteo-Lopez, JF; Miguez, H
Advanced Optical Materials, (2021) 2100605


Lead halide perovskite (LHP) nanocrystals (NCs) have gained attention over the past decade due to their outstanding optoelectronic properties, making them a suitable material for efficient photovoltaic and light emitting devices. Due to its soft nature, these nanostructures undergo strong structural changes upon irradiation, where these light-induced processes are strongly influenced by the environment. Since most processing routes for LHP NCs are based on colloidal approaches, the role of factors such as stabilizing ligands or solvents is usually hard to disentangle from the interaction of external radiation with the perovskite material. Employing a recently proposed synthetic approach, where ligand-free NCs can be grown within metal-oxide-based insulating nanoporous matrices, it has been feasible to perform a clean study of the effect of the surrounding atmosphere on the photophysical properties of perovskite NCs, avoiding the interference of protective capping layers or solvents. Simultaneous light-induced photo-activation and darkening processes are monitored and disentangled, and their relation with bulk and surface processes, respectively, demonstrated.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1002/adom.202100605

Ni/YMnO3 perovskite catalyst for CO2 methanation

Gonzalez-Castano, M; de Miguel, JCN; Penkova, A; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA; Arellano-Garcia, H
Applied Materials Today, 23 (2021) 101055


This work proposes an innovative Ni catalyst supported over YMnO3 perovskite as a promising catalytic system for CO2 methanation reaction. Under reductive conditions, the attendance of Mn redox couples within the layered perovskite structure promotes the constitution of sub-stoichiometric YMnO3-x units which, by means of the flexible YMnO3-x reorganization capacity, results in boosted anionic mobility's. The competitive turnover frequencies (20.1 and 17.0 s(-1) at 400 degrees C under dry- and steamed- CO2 methanation conditions) displayed by Ni/YMnO3 system were related to the synergism between strongly interacting Ni particles with partially reduced YMnO3-x perovskites. The optimal Ni dispersions, for which no relevant signs of sintering issues were discerned, combined to effective role of oxygen vacancies towards the dissociative activation of CO2 molecules enabled highly active and stable catalytic behaviours with no evidence of cooking phenomena. On evaluating the water presence within CO2 methanation feedstock's, the deprived catalytic behaviour was fundamentally associated to depleted oxygen vacancies concentrations and promoted WGS side reactions.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apmt.2021.101055

Pectin-cellulose nanocrystal biocomposites: Tuning of physical properties and biodegradability

Moreno, Ana Gonzalez; Guzman-Puyol, Susana; Dominguez, Eva; Benitez, Jose J.; Segado, Patricia; Lauciello, Simone; Ceseracciu, Luca; Porras-Vazquez, Jose M.; Leon-Reina, Laura; Heredia, Antonio; Heredia-Guerrero, Jose A.
International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 180 (2021) 709-717


The fabrication of pectin-cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) biocomposites has been systematically investigated by blend-ing both polysaccharides at different relative concentrations. Circular free-standing films with a diameter of 9 cm were prepared by simple solution of these carbohydrates in water followed by drop-casting and solvent evaporation. The addition of pectin allows to finely tune the properties of the biocomposites. Textural characterization by AFM showed fibrous morphology and an increase in fiber diameter with pectin content. XRD analysis demonstrated that pectin incorporation also reduced the degree of crystallinity though no specific interaction between both poly-saccharides was detected, by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. The optical properties of these biocomposites were character-ized for the first time and it was found that pectin in the blend reduced the reflectance of visible light and increased UV absorbance. Thermal stability, analyzed by TGA, was improved with the incorporation of pectin. Finally, pectin-cellulose nanocrystal biocomposites showed a good biodegradability in seawater, comparable to other common bioplastics such as cellulose and low-molecular weight polylactide, among others.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.03.126

Self-preserving ice layers on CO2 clathrate particles: Implications for Enceladus, Pluto, and similar ocean worlds

Bostrom, M; Esteso, V; Fiedler, J; Brevik, I; Buhmann, SY; Persson, C; Carretero-Palacios, S; Parsons, DF; Corkey, RW
Astronomy & Astrophysics, 650 (2021) A54


Context. Gas hydrates can be stabilised outside their window of thermodynamic stability by the formation of an ice layer - a phenomenon termed self-preservation. This can lead to a positive buoyancy for clathrate particles containing CO2 that would otherwise sink in the oceans of Enceladus, Pluto, and similar oceanic worlds.Aims. Here we investigate the implications of Lifshitz forces and low occupancy surface regions on type I clathrate structures for their self-preservation through ice layer formation, presenting a plausible model based on multi-layer interactions through dispersion forces.Methods. We used optical data and theoretical models for the dielectric response for water, ice, and gas hydrates with a different occupancy. Taking this together with the thermodynamic Lifshitz free energy, we modelled the energy minima essential for the formation of ice layers at the interface between gas hydrate and liquid water.Results. We predict the growth of an ice layer between 0.01 and 0.2 mu m thick on CO, CH4, and CO2 hydrate surfaces, depending on the presence of surface regions depleted in gas molecules. Effective hydrate particle density is estimated, delimiting a range of particle size and compositions that would be buoyant in different oceans. Over geological time, the deposition of floating hydrate particles could result in the accumulation of kilometre-thick gas hydrate layers above liquid water reservoirs and below the water ice crusts of their respective ocean worlds. On Enceladus, the destabilisation of near-surface hydrate deposits could lead to increased gas pressures that both drive plumes and entrain stabilised hydrate particles. Furthermore, on ocean worlds, such as Enceladus and particularly Pluto, the accumulation of thick CO2 or mixed gas hydrate deposits could insulate its ocean against freezing. In preventing freezing of liquid water reservoirs in ocean worlds, the presence of CO2-containing hydrate layers could enhance the habitability of ocean worlds in our Solar System and on the exoplanets and exomoons beyond.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202040181

New Trends in Nanoclay-Modified Sensors

Pavon, E; Martin-Rodriguez, R; Perdigon, AC; Alba, MD
Inorganics, 9 (2021) 43


Nanoclays are widespread materials characterized by a layered structure in the nano-scale range. They have multiple applications in diverse scientific and industrial areas, mainly due to their swelling capacity, cation exchange capacity, and plasticity. Due to the cation exchange capacity, nanoclays can serve as host matrices for the stabilization of several molecules and, thus, they can be used as sensors by incorporating electroactive ions, biomolecules as enzymes, or fluorescence probes. In this review, the most recent applications as bioanalyte sensors are addressed, focusing on two main detection systems: electrochemical and optical methods. Particularly, the application of electrochemical sensors with clay-modified electrodes (CLME) for pesticide detection is described. Moreover, recent advances of both electrochemical and optical sensors based on nanoclays for diverse bioanalytes' detection such as glucose, H2O2, organic acids, proteins, or bacteria are also discussed. As it can be seen from this review, nanoclays can become a key factor in sensors' development, creating an emerging technology for the detection of bioanalytes, with application in both environmental and biomedical fields.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/inorganics9060043

Unveiling mechanochemistry: Kinematic-kinetic approach for the prediction of mechanically induced reactions

Gil-González, E.; Rodríguez-Laguna, M.d.R.; Sánchez-Jiménez, P.E.; Perejón, A.; Pérez-Maqueda, L.A.
Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 866 (2021) 158925


Mechanochemistry has attracted a lot of attention over the last few decades with a rapid growth in the number of publications due to its unique features. However, very little is known about how mechanical energy is converted into chemical energy. Most of the published works using mechanochemistry neglect the required attention to the experimental parameters and their effect over the resulting products, what makes extremely difficult to reproduce the results from lab to lab. Moreover, if it is taken into consideration the broad range of experimental conditions used in different studies, it is quite difficult to compare results and set optimum conditions. As a result, mechanochemistry is generally viewed as a "black box". The aim of this work is to provide some insight into mechanochemistry. Thus, a simple kinematic-kinetic approach that allows the full parametrization of mechanically induced reactions is proposed. In an analogous way to thermally activated process, it is shown that kinetic modeling can serve to parametrize and model mechanically induced reactions as a function of the milling parameters with great reliability, thereby gaining prediction capability. As a way of example, this methodology has been applied for the first time to the mechanochemical reaction of Co and Sb to form CoSb3, a skutterudite-type thermoelectric material. Moreover, the universality of this methodology has also been validated with data from the literature. A key feature of the proposed kinematic-kinetic approach is that it can be extrapolated to other mechanically induced reactions, either inorganic or organic. 

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2021.158925

Features of coupled AgBr/WO3 materials as potential photocatalysts

Puga, F.; Navío, J.A.; Hidalgo, M.C.
Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 867 (2021) 159191


AgBr/WO3 composite photocatalysts with different selected molar AgBr/WO3 ratios were prepared and widely characterized by XRD, N2-adsorption, SEM, TEM, UV–visible/DRS and XPS techniques. The samples were tested using rhodamine B (RhB) or caffeine, under two illumination conditions (UV and visible light). Although AgBr and WO3 pristine materials have relatively low band gap values (2.6 eV and 2.8 eV, respectively), they exhibit low or no photocatalytic activity under visible light, at least for caffeine degradation. This fact may be mainly related to a high recombination rate of photogenerated charge carriers in these samples. However, the coupling of both leads to a substantial improvement in the degradation of caffeine and RhB under both UV and visible lighting conditions. The increased photocatalytic activity found in the coupled systems with respect to the pristine materials can be attributed to the formation of a type II heterostructure in the coupled AgBr/WO3 samples. Our results show that for AgBr/WO3 coupled systems, kinetic degradation profiles have clear dependence on the molar percentages of the coupled pristine materials, as well as on the nature (sensitizing or not sensitizing effect) of the substrate. For caffeine photodegradation, the best performance was obtained when AgBr/WO3(10–15%) catalysts were used. The AgBr/WO3(20%) sample showed the best photocatalytic activity for rhodamine B degradation, exhibiting also excellent dark adsorption capacity (40–45%). Additionally, studies of activity in five consecutive tests showed a good RhB degradation during the successive reuses being involving a N-de-ethylation mechanism with the main O2•− radicals participation; relatively low mineralization percentages were observed, both under UV and visible light conditions. In these successive runs, no silver leaching to the medium was observed but a change from AgBr towards Ag2CO3 and/or AgxO was produced at the catalyst surface. These features should be known in the use of these systems as potential photocatalysts for practical applications.

June, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2021.159191

Structural Evolution in Iron-Catalyzed Graphitization of Hard Carbons

Gomez-Martin, A; Schnepp, Z; Ramirez-Rico, J
Chemistry of Materials, 33 (2021) 3087-3097


Despite the recent interest in catalytic graphitization to obtain graphite-like materials from hard-carbon sources, many aspects of its mechanism are still poorly unknown. We performed a series of in situ experiments to study phase transformations during graphitization of a hard-carbon precursor using an iron catalyst at temperatures up to 1100 degrees C and ex situ total scattering experiments up to 2000 degrees C to study the structural evolution of the resulting graphitized carbon. Our results show that upon heating and cooling, iron undergoes a series of reductions to form hematite, magnetite, and wustite before forming a carbide that later decomposes into metallic iron and additional graphite and that the graphitization fraction increases with increasing peak temperature. Structural development with temperature results in decreasing sheet curvature and increased stacking, along with a decrease in turbostratic disorder up to 1600 degrees C. Higher graphitization temperatures result in larger graphitic domains without further ordering of the graphene sheets. Our results have implications for the synthesis of novel biomass-derived carbon materials with enhanced crystallinity.

May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c04385

Synthesis of clay geopolymers using olive pomace fly ash as an alternative activator. Influence of the additional commercial alkaline activator used

Gomez-Casero, MA; Moral-Moral, FJ; Perez-Villarejo, L; Sanchez-Soto, PJ; Eliche-Quesada, D
Journal of Materials Research and Technology-JMR&T 12 (2021) 1762-1776


In this research, the use of olive pomace fly ash (OPFA) as an alkaline source for the activation of calcined clays (CC) from Bailen (Jaen, Spain) was studied. The optimal composition was obtained for 70 wt % CC and 30 wt % OPFA. The physical, mechanical and thermal properties of control geopolymers that use water as a liquid medium have been studied and compared with geopolymers that use additional activating solutions as sodium or potassium hydroxide solutions (8 M), or a mixture of alkaline hydroxide and alkaline silicate solution (NaOH-Na2SiO3 or KOH-K2SiO3). The results showed that OPFA can be used as an alkaline activator, showing mechanical properties slightly lower than those obtained when additional alkaline hydroxide activating solutions were used. The best compressive strength was obtained for geopolymers that use alkaline silicates as an activating solution. However, the best thermal insulation properties were obtained for control geopolymers. The microstructural characteristics of the geopolymers were evaluated by means of X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM-EDS) that corroborate the formation of geopolymeric gel in all the specimens, being the amount of gel formed greater in samples using commercial potassium activating solutions. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using this type of waste, OPFA, as activating reagents in the manufacture of geopolymers or alkaline activated materials. The manufactured geopolymers can be used as compressed earth blocks for walls and partitions, since the specimens pursue mechanical properties that comply with current regulations, presenting better thermal insulation properties. 

May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jmrt.2021.03.102

High-temperature solar-selective coatings based on Cr(Al)N. Part 1: Microstructure and optical properties of CrNy and Cr1-xAlxNy films prepared by DC/HiPIMS

Rojas, TC; Caro, A; Lozano, G.; Sanchez-Lopez, JC
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 223 (2021) 110951


In order to explore the potentialities of Cr1-x(Al)xNy materials in multilayer-based solar selective coatings (SSC) for high temperature applications (T > 500 °C), the optical behavior of Cr1-x(Al)xNy films is studied in this work. Two sets of layers (CrNy and Cr1-xAlxNy) were prepared by direct current (DC) and high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) technology. The deposition parameters: N2 flux, HiPIMS frequency and aluminum sputtering power, were modified to get a wide variety of stoichiometries. The composition, morphology, phases and electronic structure of the films were characterized in depth. The optical behavior was determined by UV–Vis–NIR and FTIR spectroscopies, and the optical constants were obtained from the measured transmittance and reflectance spectra based on appropriate dielectric function models. Our results indicate that small changes in the layer composition influence the optical constants. In particular, a metallic-like behavior was obtained for CrNy layers with N vacancies (CrN0.95 and CrN0.67 films) while a semiconductor-like behavior was observed for CrN1.08. Thus, the CrNy films can be used as effective absorber layer in multilayer-based SSC, and namely, the CrN0.67 film as an IR reflector/absorber layer too. Likewise, the optical properties of Cr1-xAlxNy layers can also be tuned from metallic to semiconductor-like behavior depending on the chemical composition. Indeed, the absorption coefficients of Cr1-xAlxNy films with optimized Al content and N-vacancies are comparable to those reported for state-of-the-art materials such as TiAlN or TiAlCrN. In addition, a Cr0.96Al0.04N0.89 film was found to be a suitable IR reflector/absorber layer.

May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2020.110951

Understanding the opportunities of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) for CO2 capture and gas-phase CO2 conversion processes: a comprehensive overview

Gandara-Loe, J; Pastor-Perez, L; Bobadilla, LF; Odriozola, JA; Reina, TR
Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, 6 (2021) 787-814


The rapid increase in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is one of the most pressing problems facing our planet. This challenge has motivated the development of different strategies not only in the reduction of CO2 concentrations via green energy alternatives but also in the capture and conversion of CO2 into value-added products. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a relatively new class of porous materials with unique structural characteristics such as high surface areas, chemical tunability and stability, and have been extensively studied as promising materials to address this challenge. This comprehensive review identifies the specific structural and chemical properties of MOFs that result in advanced CO2 capture capacities and fairly encouraging catalytic CO2 conversion behaviour. More importantly, we describe an interconnection among the unique properties of MOFs and the engineering aspects of these intriguing materials towards CO2 capture and conversion processes.

May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1039/d1re00034a

Mössbauer study of iron gall inks on historical documents

Lerf, A; Wagner, FE; Dreher, M; Espejo, T; Perez-Rodriguez, JL
Heritage Science, 9 (2021) 49


Iron gall ink was used in the Western world as a permanent writing material already in late Roman times and throughout the Middle Ages, until it became obsolete in the twentieth century. There is much interest in experimental methods to determine the state of the ink and its degradation products on historical documents. Mossbauer spectroscopy with Fe-57 is such a method, and it has the particular advantage to be sensitive to the chemical bonding of iron, but this method has only rarely been applied to historical documents. In this paper we present Mossbauer data for two damaged documents from a Library in Granada and a handwritten German book from the eighteenth century. In addition to the inked parts of the manuscripts, ink-free parts were studied to determine the amount and chemical state of the iron in the papers. These new results are discussed in the context of previously published Mossbauer data. In one of the investigated documents Fe(II)-oxalate, FeC2O4 center dot 2H(2)O, was observed. The assignment of the various Fe3+ sites in the different documents is rather difficult and often there is a superposition of various species. Known forms of iron gallate are definitely not present on the inked papers. The observed ferric species can be remains of Fe3+ polyphenol complexes of the ink, complexes of Fe3+ with degradation products of the cellulose of the paper or gum arabic, or very small iron oxide or hydroxide nanoparticles.

May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1186/s40494-021-00522-3

Synthesis and Characterization of a Nearly Single Bulk Ti2AlN MAX Phase Obtained from Ti/AlN Powder Mixture through Spark Plasma Sintering

Salvo, C; Chicardi, E; Poyato, R; Garcia-Garrido, C; Jimenez, JA; Lopez-Pernia, C; Tobosque, P; Mangalaraja, RV
Materials, 14 (2021) 2217


MAX phases are an advanced class of ceramics based on ternary carbides or nitrides that combine some of the ceramic and metallic properties, which make them potential candidate materials for many engineering applications under severe conditions. The present work reports the successful synthesis of nearly single bulk Ti2AlN MAX phase (>98% purity) through solid-state reaction and from a Ti and AlN powder mixture in a molar ratio of 2:1 as starting materials. The mixture of Ti and AlN powders was subjected to reactive spark plasma sintering (SPS) under 30 MPa at 1200 degrees C and 1300 degrees C for 10 min in a vacuum atmosphere. It was found that the massive formation of Al2O3 particles at the grain boundaries during sintering inhibits the development of the Ti2AlN MAX phase in the outer zone of the samples. The effect of sintering temperature on the microstructure and mechanical properties of the Ti2AlN MAX phase was investigated and discussed.

May, 2021 | DOI: 10.3390/ma14092217

Effect of the sulphonating agent on the catalytic behavior of activated carbons in the dehydration reaction of fructose in DMSO

Bounoukta, CE; Megias-Sayago, C; Ivanova, S; Penkova, A; Ammari, F; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Applied Catalysis A-General, 617 (2021) 118108


A series of -SO3R functionalized activated carbons (R=H, O, aryl) were prepared and applied in fructose dehydration reaction to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. Different sulphonating methods introduce groups on catalyst surface with distinct donor-acceptor and hydrophilic properties. Their nature influences significantly not only activated carbon?s textural and chemical properties but also the product yields and selectivity in fructose dehydration reaction. The viability of the solvent free reaction was also investigated and compared to the performance of the catalyst series in presence of DMSO, where the best catalytic results were obtained.

May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcata.2021.118108

Effects of an Illite Clay Substitution on Geopolymer Synthesis as an Alternative to Metakaolin

Eliche-Quesada, D; Bonet-Martinez, E; Perez-Villarejo, L; Castro, E; Sanchez-Soto, PJ
Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, 33 (2021) 04021072


In this study, a calcined illite clay from Bailen, Jaen, Spain, was valorized as a substitute of metakaolin in the synthesis of new geopolymeric materials. The raw materials, raw clay and commercial kaolin, were pretreated at 750 degrees C (4 h). Several samples (0%-100% by weight of clay) were activated by mixing NaOH solution and sodium silicate solution. The specimens were cured (60 degrees C and 99% relative humidity) for 24 h, then demolded and kept at ambient conditions for 7, 28, and 90 days. The prepared geopolymers were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. Physical, mechanical, and thermal properties were determined. The results indicated that the specimens based on the illite raw clay and metakaolin present an amorphous consolidated appearance, characteristic of the polycondensation reactions. The incorporation of up to 50% by weight of raw clay provided geopolymers with higher mechanical strength (39.6 MPa) and bulk density (1,455 kg/m(3)), lower apparent porosity (19.6%), and similar although slightly higher thermal conductivity (0.25 W/mK) than control geopolymers containing only metakaolin as a precursor after 28 days of curing. Control geopolymers presented compressive strength, bulk density, apparent porosity, and thermal conductivity of 23 MPa, 1,251 kg/m(3), 41.03% and 0.224 W/mk, respectively, at the same age of cured geopolymers. The mechanical properties increased with curing time due to a greater advance of the geopolymerization reaction. Therefore, this illite clay can be thermally activated together with metakaolin to obtain geopolymers with suitable technological properties. The results demonstrate that the finished materials can be used for construction applications.

May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)MT.1943-5533.0003690

IR spectroscopic insights into the coking-resistance effect of potassium on nickel-based catalyst during dry reforming of methane

Azancot, L; Bobadilla, LF; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Applied Catalysis B-Environmental, 285 (2021) 119822


Dry reforming of methane (DRM) is an effective catalytic route for transforming CO2 and CH4 into valuable syngas and thus potentially attractive for mitigating the emission of environmental harmful gases. Therefore, it is crucial to develop rationally Ni-based catalysts highly resistant to coking and sintering. In this scenario, the addition of small amounts of potassium to nickel catalyst increases their resistance to coking during dry reforming of methane. Nonetheless, the specific role of potassium in these catalysts not have been fully understood and there are still important discrepancies between the different reported studies. This work provides a new approach on the anticoking nature of a K-promoted Ni catalyst by means of a combined IR spectroscopic study of in situ characterization by CO adsorption under static conditions and operando DRIFTS measurements under dynamic conditions of DRM reaction. The involved surface species formed during the reaction were elucidated by transient and steady-state operando DRIFTS studies. It was revealed that the existence of Ni-K interfacial sites favours the gasification of carbonaceous deposits towards reverse Boudouard reaction and reduces the sticking probability of CO2 dissociative adsorption. Moreover, the presence of strongly Mg-O-K basic sites leads to the formation of carbonate intermediates that are subsequently reduced into CO gaseous towards the associative mechanism by RWGS reaction. These results provide a fundamental understanding of the relevant anticoking effect of potassium on Ni-based catalysts.

May, 2021 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2020.119822