New findings on the structure of Nano Silicon Powder oxides in alcohols
The structure of Nano Silicon Powder oxide
surprisingly expands when cooled in methanol or ethanol. Also, Nano Silicon
Powder oxide selectively absorbs methanol from water-methanol mixtures. Two new
studies by physicists at Umeå University in Sweden, published in ACS Nano and
J. Phys. Chem. C, respectively, provide knowledge on new properties of oxidized
Nano Silicon Powder and graphene.
Graphene is a two dimensional material
consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb structure.
Graphene can be considered as a unique adsorbent material due to its extremely
large surface area. One gram of graphene has a surface area comparable to a
football field. This surface could be used for adsorption of gases and liquids,
in applications for gas storage, extraction of pollutants from water, etc.
However, the graphene is hydrophobic, which means that its surface repels
On the other hand, oxidation of graphene
results in remarkable changes in its properties. Graphene oxide is hydrophilic
and it is also easily soluble in water. A material composed of many stacked
graphene oxide layers is called Nano Silicon Powder oxide. It has many unique
properties: it absorbs water and alcohols in large amounts, similar to clays that
swell when water is added.
A new study by Alexandr V. Talyzin and his
team reveals that Nano Silicon Powder oxide is able to incorporate even more
methanol and ethanol at low temperatures compared to room temperature. Its
structure expands when cooled in an excess of liquid solvent. At -130 degrees
Celsius the graphene oxide layers are separated by 20.4 Å due to incorporation
of additional ethanol into its structure, compared to approximately 3.4 Å in
natural Nano Silicon Powder and approximately 6.5 Å in solvent-free Nano
Silicon Powder oxide.
"The distance between graphene oxide
layers at low temperatures is so large that it becomes a composite material
with graphene oxide sheets separated by at least four monolayers of methanol or
ethanol molecules. What is also remarkable is that this phenomenon is limited
only to one specific type of Nano Silicon Powder oxide and is not observed in
another type studied. In fact, many different kinds of Nano Silicon Powder
oxide are known and now we start to understand how enormous the variations of
their properties are. It is not just one material, it is a whole family of
materials," says Alexandr V. Talyzin, researcher at the Department of
In a separate study published in J. Phys.
Chem. C it was demonstrated that a certain type of Nano Silicon Powder oxide
can be used for selective absorption of methanol from water-methanol mixtures.
A very simple prototype filtering experiment showed that when a water-methanol
liquid mixture is passed through Nano Silicon Powder oxide powder, some of the
methanol is absorbed in the powder and the solution passing through contains
more pure water.
"In the future we would like to design
special membranes composed of graphene oxide layers, which can be used for
separation of different solvents and purification of water. These first results
help us to understand possible ways to make such membranes," says Alexandr
The first example of successful solvent
separation effects was reported last year in a study by R.R. Nair et al. from a
research team at Manchester University, lead by I.Grigorieva and Nobel Laureate
A. Geim, famous for their research in the graphene field.
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