New, simplified technique creates light lead nanofoam

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A elementary process for production intensely low-density palladium nanofoams could assistance allege hydrogen storage technologies, reports a new investigate from a University of California, Davis.

A nanofoam is what it sounds like — a foamy chronicle of some material, filled with really tiny pores. First introduced about 20 years ago, lead nanofoams have intensity for opposite applications. The porous structures are clever and lightweight — like their healthy counterparts of bone and cork. Palladium and certain other steel nanofoams can also fast store and recover hydrogen, creation them an ideal claimant for hydrogen fuel cells.

UC Davis physicists Dustin Gilbert, Kai Liu and colleagues have come adult with a new process to make a nanofoam of palladium. The foamy steel could be used to store hydrogen in vehicles or for other purposes. Image credit: Dustin Gilbert and Kai Liu, UC Davis.

But before cars can start fueling adult around nanofoam, regulating lead foams on an industrial scale contingency overcome hurdles including perfectionist production conditions, decay and bad crystallinity, pronounced comparison author Kai Liu, highbrow of production in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science. It is also formidable to grasp intensely lightweight foams but compromising their stability, Liu noted.

Traditional lead froth production techniques might need high temperature, high vigour and tranquil chemical environments. The UC Davis-led group instead relies on a soppy chemistry proceed that is befitting for industrial applications and variable to other forms of lightweight steel foams as well, Liu said.

“This opens up a whole new height for sparkling materials explorations,” pronounced lead author Dustin Gilbert.

The new technique uses nanowires of palladium as building blocks. The nanowires are put in water, afterwards churned into a slurry with ultrasonic vibrations. The slurry is fast enthralled in glass nitrogen to solidify a wires in place. Finally, a ice-nanowire brew is placed in a opening until a ice vaporizes, withdrawal behind a pristine palladium nanowire foam. The firmness of a element is as low as one-thousandth of a firmness of palladium in it’s bulk steel form and can be tuned for opposite applications, a group found.

The researchers also complicated a hydrogen storage properties of a palladium nanofoam, anticipating a element demonstrated glorious loading ability and rate of absorption. The nanofoam exhibits glorious thermodynamic stability, as totalled by specialized calorimetric techniques during a UC Davis Peter A. Rock Thermochemistry Laboratory. The laboratory is led by investigate co-author Alexandra Navrotsky, who binds a Edward Roessler Chair in Mathematical and Physical Science.

The formula were published online Oct. 20, 2017, in a journal Chemistry of Materials. Additional co-authors embody Edward C. Burks, Sergey V. Ushakov, Patricia Abellan, Ilke Arslan and Thomas E. Felter. The investigate was sponsored by a Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a National Science Foundation, a Department of Energy and a Tom and Ginny Cahill Fund for Environmental Physics.

The investigate group is posterior several new uses for low firmness steel foams and has filed patent applications for new production methods and atmosphere filters.

Source: NSF, University of California, Davis

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