Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Building A Better Hydrogen Trap

Date:
November 21, 2005
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Using building blocks that make up ordinary plastics, but putting them together in a whole new way, University of Michigan researchers have created a class of lightweight, rigid polymers they predict will be useful for storing hydrogen fuel. The trick to making the new materials, called covalent organic frameworks (COFs), was coaxing them to assume predictable crystal structures -- something that never had been done with rigid plastics.

Crystalline sheets produced in covalent organic frameworks (COFs).
Credit: Adrien Côté

Using building blocks that make up ordinary plastics, but putting them together in a whole new way, University of Michigan researchers have created a class of lightweight, rigid polymers they predict will be useful for storing hydrogen fuel.

The work is described in today's (Nov. 17) issue of the journal Science.

The trick to making the new materials, called covalent organic frameworks (COFs), was coaxing them to assume predictable crystal structures---something that never had been done with rigid plastics.

"Normally, rigid plastics are synthesized by rapid reactions that randomly cross-link polymers," said postdoctoral fellow Adrien Côté, who is first author on the Science paper. "Just as in anything you might do, if you do it really fast, it can get disorganized." For that reason, the exact internal structures of such materials are poorly understood, making it difficult to predict their properties. But Côté and colleagues tweaked reaction conditions to slow down the process, allowing the materials to crystallize in an organized fashion instead of assembling helter skelter.

As a result, the researchers can use X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of each type of COF they create and, using that information, quickly assess its properties.

"Once we know the structure and properties, our methodology allows us to go back and modify the COF, making it perform better or tailoring it for different applications," said Côté.

Côté collaborated on the work with Omar Yaghi, who is the Robert W. Parry Collegiate Professor of Chemistry at U-M. Over the past 15 years, Yaghi has taken a similar approach to producing materials called metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). On the molecular level, MOFs are scaffolds made up of metal hubs linked together with struts of organic compounds. By carefully choosing and modifying the chemical components used as hubs and struts, Yaghi and his team have been able to define the angles at which they connect and design materials with the properties they want.

Like MOFs, COFs can be made highly porous to increase their storage capacity. But unlike MOFs, COFs contain no metals. Instead, they're made up of light elements – hydrogen, boron, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen – that form strong links (covalent bonds) with one another.

"Using light elements allows you to generate lightweight materials," said Côté. "That's very important for hydrogen fuel storage, because the lighter the material, the more economical it is to transport around in a vehicle. The strong covalent bonds also make COFs very robust materials." Although the main thrust of the current research is creating materials for gas storage in fuel cells, Côté, Yaghi and colleagues also are exploring variations of COFs that might be suitable for use in electronic devices or catalytic applications.

"This is the first step to what we think is going to be a very large and useful class of materials," Côté said.

###

Côté and Yaghi collaborated on the research with assistant professor of chemistry Adam Matzger and graduate students Annabelle Benin and Nathan Ockwig, all of U-M, and Michael O'Keeffe of Arizona State University. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

For more information:

Omar Yaghi---http://www.umich.edu/%7Emichchem/faculty/yaghi/

Science magazine---http://www.sciencemag.org/

For an in-depth look at the research of Omar Yaghi, in whose lab this work was done, visit: http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?Releases/2005/Nov05/yaghi


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "Building A Better Hydrogen Trap." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051119103053.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2005, November 21). Building A Better Hydrogen Trap. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051119103053.htm
University of Michigan. "Building A Better Hydrogen Trap." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051119103053.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) — The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

Inside London's Massive Sewer Tunnel Project

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Billions of dollars are being spent on a massive super sewer to take away London's vast output of waste, which is endangering the River Thames. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins