Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New property of flames sparks advances in technology

Date:
June 7, 2012
Source:
University College London
Summary:
Chemists have discovered a new property of flames, which allows them to control reactions at a solid surface in a flame and opens up a whole new field of chemical innovation.

Atif Elahi, a co-author on the paper, in the lab.
Credit: Image courtesy of University College London

Chemists at UCL have discovered a new property of flames, which allows them to control reactions at a solid surface in a flame and opens up a whole new field of chemical innovation.

Published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, authors of the new study have discovered their previous understanding of how flames interact with a solid surface was mistaken. For the first time, they have demonstrated that a particular type of chemistry, called redox chemistry, can be accurately controlled at the surface.

This finding has wide implications for future technology, for example in detection of chemicals in the air, and in developing our understanding of the chemistry of lightning. It also opens up the possibility of being able to perform nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide electrolysis at the source for the management of green house gases.

Results of the study show that depending on the chemical make-up of the flame, scientists can record a distinctive electrical fingerprint. The fingerprint is a consequence of the behaviour of specific chemical species at the surface of a solid conducting surface, where electrons can exchange at a very precise voltage.

Dr Daren Caruana, from the UCL Department of Chemistry, said: "Flames can be modelled to allow us to construct efficient burners and combustion engines. But the presence of charged species or ions and electrons in flames gives them a unique electrical property."

Dr Caruana added: "By considering the gaseous flame plasma as an electrolyte, we show that it is possible to control redox reactions at the solid/gas interface."

The team developed an electrode system which can be used to probe the chemical make-up of flames. By adding chemical species to the flame they were able to pick up current signals at specific voltages giving a unique electrochemical finger print, called a voltammogram.

The voltammograms for three different metal oxides -- tungsten oxide, molybdenum oxide and vanadium oxide -- are all unique. Furthermore, the team also demonstrated that the size of the current signatures depend on the amount of the oxide in the flame. Whilst this is possible and routinely done in liquids, this is the first time to be shown in the gas phase.

UCL chemists have shown that there are significant differences between solid/gas reactions and their liquid phase equivalents. Liquid free electrochemistry presents access to a vast number of redox reactions, current voltage signatures that lie outside potential limits defined by the liquid.

The prospect of new redox chemistries will enable new technological applications such as electrodeposition, electroanalysis and electrolysis, which will have significant economic and environmental benefits.

Dr Caruana said: "The mystique surrounding the properties of fire has always captivated our imagination. However, there are still some very significant technical and scientific questions that remain regarding fire and flame. "


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Atif Elahi, Toks Fowowe, Daren J. Caruana. Dynamic Electrochemistry in Flame Plasma Electrolyte. Angewandte Chemie, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/ange.201200226

Cite This Page:

University College London. "New property of flames sparks advances in technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607122313.htm>.
University College London. (2012, June 7). New property of flames sparks advances in technology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607122313.htm
University College London. "New property of flames sparks advances in technology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607122313.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Magic Leap isn't publicizing much more than a description of its product, but it’s been enough for Google and others to invest more than $500M. Video provided by Newsy
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