Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Graphene membranes may lead to enhanced natural gas production, less CO2 pollution

Date:
October 9, 2012
Source:
University of Colorado at Boulder
Summary:
Engineering researchers have produced the first experimental results showing that atomically thin graphene membranes with tiny pores can effectively and efficiently separate gas molecules through size-selective sieving.

This illustration depicts a single molecular-sized pore in a graphene membrane. The membrane is separating carbon dioxide from nitrogen. A carbon dioxide molecule is passing through the pore while nitrogen molecules are too large to pass through.
Credit: Illustration by Zhangmin Huang

Engineering faculty and students at the University of Colorado Boulder have produced the first experimental results showing that atomically thin graphene membranes with tiny pores can effectively and efficiently separate gas molecules through size-selective sieving.

Related Articles


The findings are a significant step toward the realization of more energy-efficient membranes for natural gas production and for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plant exhaust pipes.

Mechanical engineering professors Scott Bunch and John Pellegrino co-authored a paper in Nature Nanotechnology with graduate students Steven Koenig and Luda Wang detailing the experiments. The paper was published Oct. 7 in the journal's online edition.

The research team introduced nanoscale pores into graphene sheets through ultraviolet light-induced oxidative "etching," and then measured the permeability of various gases across the porous graphene membranes. Experiments were done with a range of gases including hydrogen, carbon dioxide, argon, nitrogen, methane and sulphur hexaflouride -- which range in size from 0.29 to 0.49 nanometers -- to demonstrate the potential for separation based on molecular size. One nanometer is one billionth of a meter.

"These atomically thin, porous graphene membranes represent a new class of ideal molecular sieves, where gas transport occurs through pores which have a thickness and diameter on the atomic scale," said Bunch.

Graphene, a single layer of graphite, represents the first truly two-dimensional atomic crystal. It consists of a single layer of carbon atoms chemically bonded in a hexagonal "chicken wire" lattice -- a unique atomic structure that gives it remarkable electrical, mechanical and thermal properties.

"The mechanical properties of this wonder material fascinate our group the most," Bunch said. "It is the thinnest and strongest material in the world, as well as being impermeable to all standard gases."

Those characteristics make graphene an ideal material for creating a separation membrane because it is durable and yet doesn't require a lot of energy to push molecules through it, he said.

Other technical challenges will need to be overcome before the technology can be fully realized. For example, creating large enough sheets of graphene to perform separations on an industrial scale, and developing a process for producing precisely defined nanopores of the required sizes are areas that need further development. The CU-Boulder experiments were done on a relatively small scale.

The importance of graphene in the scientific world was illustrated by the 2010 Nobel Prize in physics that honored two scientists at Manchester University in England, Andre K. Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, for producing, isolating, identifying and characterizing graphene. Scientists see a myriad of potential for graphene as research progresses, from making new and better display screens and electric circuits to producing tiny biomedical devices.

The research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation; the Membrane Science, Engineering and Technology Center at CU-Boulder; and the DARPA Center on Nanoscale Science and Technology for Integrated Micro/Nano Electromechanical Transducers at CU-Boulder.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Steven P. Koenig, Luda Wang, John Pellegrino, J. Scott Bunch. Selective molecular sieving through porous graphene. Nature Nanotechnology, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2012.162

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado at Boulder. "Graphene membranes may lead to enhanced natural gas production, less CO2 pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009112433.htm>.
University of Colorado at Boulder. (2012, October 9). Graphene membranes may lead to enhanced natural gas production, less CO2 pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009112433.htm
University of Colorado at Boulder. "Graphene membranes may lead to enhanced natural gas production, less CO2 pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121009112433.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Witnesses recount the sites and sounds of a massive explosion and subsequent building collapse in the heart of Manhattan&apos;s trendy East Village on Thursday. (March 26) 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