Oct 2021, Volume 15 Issue 5
    

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  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Faheem Mushtaq, Xiang Zhang, Ka Y. Fung, Ka M. Ng

    In chemical product design, the aim is to formulate a product with desired performance. Ingredients and internal product structure are two key drivers of product performance with direct impact on the mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. Thus, there is a keen interest in elucidating the dependence of product performance on ingredients, structure, and the manufacturing process to form the structure. Design of product structure, particularly microstructure, is an intrinsically complex problem that involves different phases of different physicochemical properties, mass fraction, morphology, size distribution, and interconnectivity. Recently, computational methods have emerged that assist systematic microstructure quantification and prediction. The objective of this paper is to review these computational methods and to show how these methods as well as other developments in product design can work seamlessly in a proposed performance, ingredients, structure, and manufacturing process framework for the design of structured chemical products. It begins with the desired target properties and key ingredients. This is followed by computation for microstructure and then selection of processing steps to realize this microstructure. The framework is illustrated with the design of nanodielectric and die attach adhesive products.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Soheil Bahraminia, Mansoor Anbia, Esmat Koohsaryan

    Natural gas and biogas are two mixtures that consist of methane as their main component. These two gas mixtures are usually saturated with water vapor, which cause many problems, such as damaging the gas processing equipment by increasing the gas’s corrosion potential or clogging the pipelines due to gas hydrate formation. Thus, removing water vapor from these gas streams is mandatory. In this review paper, the main dehydration methods have been overviewed, and scrutiny of the adsorption dehydration has been carried out. Furthermore, the most important solid desiccants and their improvements have been reviewed.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Chaoli Tong, Jiachang Zuo, Danlu Wen, Weikun Chen, Linmin Ye, Youzhu Yuan

    Heterogeneous halide-free carbonylation of methanol to acetates, including methyl acetate (MA) and acetic acid, using non-precious metal catalysts has been a topic of interest for decades. The key issue is that the water produced by methanol dehydration inhibits the formation of acetyl species and reduces the MA selectivity. Here, we report that CuCeOx/H-mordenite (H-MOR) catalyst can nearly eliminate the inhibiting effect of water on carbonylation by a water-gas shift reaction (WGSR) on-site, and can thus achieve 96.5% methanol conversion with 87.4% MA selectivity for the halide-free carbonylation of methanol. The results of powder X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy show that the Cu and Ce species are highly dispersed on H-MOR even when the CuCeOx contents are as high as 29 wt-%. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and CO chemisorption analysis reveal that a small portion of Cu species can migrate into the channel of H-MOR when CuCeOx/H-MOR is calcined at 500 °C and these Cu species are converted into Cu+ sites upon reduction. The Cu+ sites facilitate the WGSR and are also active sites for methanol carbonylation. The introduction of Ce benefits the inhibition of coke deposits and thus enhances the catalyst stability.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Hui Shang, Chong Guo, Pengfei Ye, Wenhui Zhang

    Catalytic hydrodesulfurization (HDS) technique is widely used for clean gasoline production. However, traditional HDS catalyst (CoMo/γ-Al2O3) exhibits high hydrogenation performance of olefins (HYDO), resulting in the loss of gasoline octane number. To achieve high HDS/HYDO ratio, the key issue is to reduce the interaction between active metals and the support, therefore, in this research, the modified CoMo/γ-Al2O3 catalysts with various boron amounts were investigated under traditional or microwave heating. The effects of preparing methods as well as boron amounts on the active phase, acidic properties and HDS catalytic activities were examined. Results show that the modification, especially under microwave treatment, can significantly weaken the interaction between the active component and the support by enlarging the surface area and pore diameter, and reducing the acidity of the support. As a result, the stacking numbers of MoS2 slabs were obviously improved by the modification and microwave treatment, contributing to higher edge/rim ratio, and resulting in higher HDS performance and selectivity to olefin.

  • RESEARCH ARTICAL
    Xue Liu, Lingtao Kong, Shengtao Xu, Chaofan Liu, Fengyun Ma

    A mechanochemical method was employed to prepare modified iron molybdate catalysts with various metal salts as precursors. The physicochemical properties of the iron molybdate catalysts were characterized, and their performances in catalyzing the reaction from methanol to formaldehyde (HCHO) were evaluated. Iron molybdate catalysts doped with Co(NO3)2·6H2O and Al(NO3)3·9H2O resulted in high HCHO yields. Compared with a commercial catalyst, the HCHO yields in the reaction with the modified catalyst at an optimal Co/Mo molar ratio reached 97.37%. According to chemical state analysis, the formation of CoO and the efficient decrease in the MoO3 sublimation rate could be important factors enhancing the HCHO yield in reactions catalyzed with iron molybdate doped with different Co/Mo mole ratios.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Guozhi Jia, Chunmu Guo, Wei Wang, Xuefeng Bai, Xiaomeng Wei, Xiaofang Su, Tong Li, Linfei Xiao, Wei Wu

    The hydroisomerization of n-hexadecane over Pt-Pd bimetallic catalysts is an effective way to produce clean fuel oil. This work reports a useful preparation method of bimetallic bifunctional catalysts by a co-impregnation or sequential impregnation process. Furthermore, monometallic catalysts with loading either Pt or Pd are also prepared for comparison. The effects of the metal species and impregnation order on the characteristics and catalytic performance of the catalysts are investigated. The catalytic test results indicate that the maximum iso-hexadecane yield over different catalysts increases as follows: Pt/silicoaluminophosphate SAPO-41<Pd/SAPO-41<Pt*-Pd/SAPO-41 (prepared by sequential impregnation)<Pt-Pd/SAPO-41 (prepared by co-impregnation). Owing to the synergic effects between Pt and Pd, the Pt-Pd/SAPO-41 catalyst prepared by the co-impregnation method demonstrates the effective promotion of (de)hydrogenation activity. Therefore, this catalyst exhibits the highest iso-hexadecane yield of 89.4% when the n-hexadecane conversion is 96.3%. Additionally, the Pt-Pd/SAPO-41 catalyst also presents the highest catalytic activity and best stability even after 150 h long-term tests.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yan Cui, Zequan Zeng, Jianfeng Zheng, Zhanggen Huang, Jieyang Yang

    To realize the utilization of visible light and improve the photocatalytic efficiency of organic pollutant degradation in wastewater, a nitrogen-doped titanium-carbon composite (N-TiO2/AC) prepared by sol-gel methods was applied in the photodegradation of phenol assisted by persulfate under visible light irradiation (named N-TiO2/AC/PS/VIS). The results show that a synergistic effect exists between visible-light photocatalysis and persulfate activation. Compared with TiO2/PS/VIS, the phenol degradation rate was found to be observably improved by 65% in the N-TiO2/AC/PS/VIS system. This significant increase in degradation rate was mainly attributed to the following two factors: 1) The N and C doping can change the crystal structure of TiO2, which extends the TiO2 absorption wavelength range to the visible light region. 2) As an electron acceptor, PS can not only prevent electrons and holes from recombining with each other but can also generate strong oxidizing radicals such as ∙SO4 and ∙OH to accelerate the reaction dynamics. The process of phenol degradation was found to be consistent with the Langmuir pseudo-first-order kinetic model with an apparent rate constant k of 1.73 min–1. The N-TiO2/AC/PS/VIS process was proven to be a facile method for pollutant degradation with high pH adaptability, excellent visible-light utilization and good application prospects.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yu Lin, Jinlei Wang, Duanlin Cao, Yaqiong Gong

    The exploration of cost-effective, high-performance, and stable electrocatalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) over wide pH range (0–14) is of paramount importance for future renewable energy conversion technologies. Regulation of electronic structure through doping vanadium atoms is a feasible construction strategy to enhance catalytic activities, electron transfer capability, and stability of the HER electrode. Herein, V-doped NiCoP nanosheets on carbon fiber paper (CFP) (denoted as Vx-NiCoP/CFP) were constructed by doping V modulation on NiCoP nanosheets on CFP and used for pH-universal HER. Benefiting from the abundant catalytic sites and optimized hydrogen binding thermodynamics, the resultant V15-NiCoP/CFP demonstrates a significantly improved HER catalytic activity, requiring overpotentials of 46.5, 52.4, and 85.3 mV to reach a current density of 10 mA·cm–2 in 1 mol·L–1 KOH, 0.5 mol·L–1 H2SO4, and 1 mol·L–1 phosphate buffer solution (PBS) electrolytes, respectively. This proposed cation-doping strategy provides a new inspiration to rationally enhance or design new-type nonprecious metal-based, highly efficient, and pH-universal electrocatalysts for various energy conversion systems.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Wenlong Zhang, Xuyang Zhao, Lin Zhang, Jinwei Zhu, Shanshan Li, Ping Hu, Jiangtao Feng, Wei Yan

    In this study, TiO2 functionalized with organic groups were prepared to study the effect of carboxyl and amino groups on the adsorption behavior of TiO2 for the removal of acid red G (ARG) as an anionic dye from aqueous solution. TiO2 was successfully modified with carboxyl and amino groups by using the hydrolysis method with oxalic acid (OAD, with two carboxyl groups), ethylenediamine (EDA, with two amino groups) and DL-alanine (DLA, with one carboxyl group and one amino group) at low temperature (65 °C) and labeled as OAD-TiO2, EDA-TiO2 and DLA-TiO2, respectively. The ARG uptake by the functionalized TiO2 samples was largely dependent on the functional groups. The interaction between ARG and the functional organic groups on the TiO2 samples plays an important role in the adsorption process, which leads to the excellent adsorption performance (higher capacity and faster adsorption rate) of the functionalized TiO2 samples than that of P25 (commercial TiO2 without modification). Furthermore, there is no obvious loss of the adsorption capacity for the functionalized TiO2 even after 5 adsorption-desorption cycles, which indicated the good reusability of the modified TiO2 samples for anionic dye removal from aqueous solution.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Jiajia Li, Shengcheng Zhai, Weibing Wu, Zhaoyang Xu

    In this paper, we employed a facile approach to prepare flexible and porous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) containing cellulose nanofiber (CNF) aerogels (MNCAs) through freeze-drying MOF-containing cellulose nanofiber suspensions. After coating with methyltrimethoxysilane (MTMS) by chemical vapor deposition, recycled and hydrophobic MTMS-coated MNCAs (MMNCAs) were obtained. Due to the low density (0.009 g/cm3), high porosity (97%) and good mechanical properties of the aerogel, the adsorption capacity of MMNCAs reached up to 210 g/g, which was nearly 3–5 times that of pure CNF aerogels. These prepared aerogels showed excellent oil/water selectivity and high capacity to adsorb oil and organic solvents. This kind of cellulose-based aerogel may be applicable in the field of environmental protection.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Wei Hou, Qingjun Zhang, Aiwu Zeng

    In this study, vapor recompression and heat integration assisted distillation arrangements with either the low or high pressure in the reflux drum are proposed to reduce and/or eliminate the application of the costly refrigerant for the separation of n-heptane and isobutanol mixture. The high-pressure arrangement with vapor recompression and heat integration is the most attractive among these four intensified configurations since it can reduce total annual cost by 18.10%, CO2 emissions by 75.01% based on natural gas (78.78% based on heavy oil fuel), and second-law efficiency by 61.20% compared to a conventional refrigerated distillation system. Furthermore, exergy destruction in each component is calculated for the heat integration configurations and is shown in pie diagrams. The results demonstrate that the high-pressure configuration presents unique advantages in terms of thermodynamic efficiency compared to the low-pressure case. In addition, dynamic control investigation is performed for the economically efficient arrangement and good product compositions are well controlled through a dual-point temperature control strategy with almost negligible product offsets and quick process responses when addressing 20% step changes in production rate and feed composition. Note that there are no composition measurement loops in our developed control schemes.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Wanyue Liu, Xiaoqin Liu, Jinming Chang, Feng Jiang, Shishi Pang, Hejun Gao, Yunwen Liao, Sheng Yu

    The magnetic nitrogen-doped carbon (MNC) was prepared from polypyrrole by a simple high temperature calcination process in this paper. The structure and properties of MNC were analyzed by scanning electron microscope, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, Brunner-Emmet-Teller, vibrating sample magnetometer, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The capacity of MNC to adsorb Cr(VI) and Pb(II) was evaluated. The effects of the initial pH, dosage, concentration and temperature on the adsorption capacity of MNC were measured. MNC had a large specific surface area and a special porous structure. Its nitrogen and carbon sources were rich, and the ratio of carbon to nitrogen was fixed. The maximum Cr(VI)-adsorption capacity and maximum Pb(II) adsorption capacity of MNC could reach 456.63 and 507.13 mg∙g1 at 318 K, respectively. The pseudo-second-order model was used to describe the adsorption kinetics of MNC, and the Freundlich model was employed to discuss its isotherms. The adsorption process was affected by the electrostatic force, the reducing reaction, pores and chelation. The results of this study suggest that MNC is a material with superior performance, and is very easily regenerated, reused, and separated in the adsorption process.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Weizhou Jiao, Shengjuan Shao, Peizhen Yang, Kechang Gao, Youzhi Liu

    This study investigated the indirect oxidation of nitrobenzene (NB) by hydroxyl radicals (·OH) in a rotating packed bed (RPB) using competitive kinetics method with p-nitrochlorobenzene as a reference compound. The rate constants of NB with ·OH are calculated to be between (1.465±0.113) × 109 L/(mol·s) and (2.497±0.192) × 109 L/(mol·s). The experimental data are fitted by the modified Arrhenius equation, where the activation energy is 4877.74 J/mol, the order of NB concentration, rotation speed, and initial pH is 0.2425, 0.1400 and 0.0167, respectively. The ozonation process of NB could be enhanced by RPB, which is especially effective for highly concentrated NB-containing wastewater under alkaline conditions. The high gravity technology can accelerate ozone mass transfer and self-decomposition of ozone to produce more ·OH, resulting in an increase in the indirect oxidation rate of NB by ·OH and consequently effective degradation of NB in wastewater.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Fan Ge, Qingan Qiao, Xin Chen, You Wu

    In this work, the detailed oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalytic performance of M-N4xOx (M= Fe, Co, and Ni; x = 1–4) has been explored via the detailed density functional theory method. The results suggest that the formation energy of M-N4xOx shows a good linear relationship with the number of doped O atoms. The adsorption manner of O2 on M-N4xOx changed from end-on (x = 1 and 2) to side-on (x = 3 and 4), and the adsorption strength gradually increased. Based on the results for binding strength of ORR intermediates and the Gibbs free energy of ORR steps on the studied catalysts, we screened out two highly active ORR catalysts, namely Co-N3O1 and Ni-N2O2, which possess very small overpotentials of 0.27 and 0.32 V, respectively. Such activities are higher than the precious Pt catalyst. Electronic structure analysis reveals one of the reasons for the higher activity of Co-N3O1 and Ni-N2O2 is that they have small energy gaps and moderate highest occupied molecular orbital energy levels. Furthermore, the results of the density of states reveal that the O doping can improve the electronic structure of the original catalyst to tune the adsorption of the ORR intermediates.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Ji Liu, Xinrui Fan, Wei Zhao, Shi-guan Yang, Wenluan Xie, Bin Hu, Qiang Lu

    Pyridine is one of the main nitrogen-containing compounds in coal, and its pyrolytic mechanism to generate NOx precursors (mainly NH3 and HCN) remains unclear. In this work, the possible pathways for the pyrolysis of pyridine to form HCN and/or NH3 were investigated by the density functional theory method, and the effects of H2O on pyridine pyrolysis were also investigated. The results show that there are two possible reactions for the initial pyridine pyrolysis, i.e., internal hydrogen transfer and C–H bond homolysis, and that internal hydrogen transfer is more favorable. Nine possible reaction pathways following internal hydrogen transfer are obtained and analyzed. Among these pathways, pyridine prefers to produce HCN instead of NH3. The existence of H2O has significant effects on the decomposition of pyridine, as it participates in pyridine pyrolysis to form NH3 rather than HCN as the major product.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Lina Liang, Youzhi Liu, Weizhou Jiao, Qiaoling Zhang, Chao Zhang

    Octanes in alkylation products obtained from industrial alkylation were studied by batch experiments. More than eight octane isomers were identified and quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Based on a classic carbenium ion mechanism, the carbocation transition states in concentrated sulfuric acid catalyzed alkylation were investigated using quantum-chemical simulations and predicted the concentration and octane isomerization products including trimethylpentane and dimethylhexane as well as the formation of heavier compounds that resulted from the oligomerization of octane and butene. The agreement between model calculations and experimental data was quite satisfactory. Calculation results indicated that composition and content of trimethylpentanes in the alkylation products were 2,2,4-trimethylpentane>2,3,3-trimethylpentane>2,3,4-trimethylpentane>2,2,3-trimethylpentane whether the 2-butene or i-butene acts as olefin. Heavier compounds in the alkylate were primarily formed by the oligomerization of dimethylhexane with 1-butene. Hopefully, the carbocation transition state models developed in this work will be useful for understanding the product distributions of octane in alkylation products.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Weiguang Lv, Xiaohong Zheng, Li Li, Hongbin Cao, Yi Zhang, Renjie Chen, Hancheng Ou, Fei Kang, Zhi Sun

    Spent lithium-ion battery recycling has attracted significant attention because of its importance in regard to the environment and resource importance. Traditional hydrometallurgical methods usually leach all valuable metals and subsequently extract target meals to prepare corresponding materials. However, Li recovery in these processes requires lengthy operational procedures, and the recovery efficiency is low. In this research, we demonstrate a method to selectively recover lithium before the leaching of other elements by introducing a hydrothermal treatment. Approximately 90% of Li is leached from high-Ni layered oxide cathode powders, while consuming a nearly stoichiometric amount of hydrogen ions. With this selective recovery of Li, the transition metals remain as solid residue hydroxides or oxides. Furthermore, the extraction of Li is found to be highly dependent on the content of transition metals in the cathode materials. A high leaching selectivity of Li (>98%) and nearly 95% leaching efficiency of Li can be reached with LiNi0.8Co0.1Mn0.1O2. In this case, both the energy and material consumption during the proposed Li recovery is significantly decreased compared to traditional methods; furthermore, the proposed method makes full use of H+ to leach Li+. This research is expected to provide new understanding for selectively recovering metal from secondary resources.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Wan N. A. Kadir, Man K. Lam, Yoshimitsu Uemura, Jun W. Lim, Peck L. Kiew, Steven Lim, Siti S. Rosli, Chung Y. Wong, Pau L. Show, Keat T. Lee

    In the present study, ozone was introduced as an alternative approach to harvest and disrupt microalgae cells (Chlorella vulgaris) simultaneously for biodiesel production. At the optimum ozonation conditions (6.14 g·h–1 ozone concentration, 30 min ozonation time, 1 L·min–1 of ozone flowrate at medium pH of 10 and temperature of 30 °C), the sedimentation efficiency of microalgae cells increased significantly from 12.56% to 68.62%. It was observed that the microalgae cells aggregated to form flocs after pre-treated with ozone due to the increment of surface charge from –20 to –6.59 mV. Besides, ozone had successfully disrupted the microalgae cells and resulted in efficient lipid extraction, which was 1.9 times higher than the control sample. The extracted microalgae lipid was mainly consisted of methyl palmitate (C16:0), methyl oleate (C18:1) and methyl linolenate (C18:3), making it suitable for biodiesel production. Finally, utilization of recycled culture media after ozonation pre-treatment showed robust growth of microalgae, in which the biomass yield was maintained in the range of 0.796 to 0.879 g·h–1 for 5 cycles of cultivation.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Gang Tang, Ruiqing Zhao, Dan Deng, Yadong Yang, Depeng Chen, Bing Zhang, Xinliang Liu, Xiuyu Liu

    A phosphine oxide-containing bio-based curing agent was synthesized by addition reaction between furan derivatives and diphenylphosphine oxide. The molecular structure of the as-prepared bio-based curing agent was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Dynamic mechanical analysis results indicated that with the increase of bio-based curing agent content, the glass transition temperature of epoxy/bio-based curing agent composites decreased, which was related to the steric effect of diphenylphosphine oxide species that possibly hinder the curing reaction as well as the reduction in the cross-linking density by mono-functional N-H. By the addition of 7.5 wt-% bio-based curing agent, the resulting epoxy composite achieved UL-94 V-0 rating, in addition to limiting oxygen index of 32.0 vol-%. With the increase of content for the bio-based curing agent, the peak of heat release rate and total heat release of the composites gradually decreased. The bio-based curing agent promoted the carbonization of the epoxy matrix, leading to higher char yield with good thermal resistance. The high-quality char layer served as an effective barrier to retard the diffusion of decomposition volatiles and oxygen between molten polymers and the flame. This study provides a renewable strategy for fabricating flame retardant and transparent epoxy thermoset.

  • RESEARCH ARTICAL
    Jinian Yang, Yuxuan Xu, Chang Su, Shibin Nie, Zhenyu Li

    Poor interfacial adhesion and dispersity severely obstruct the continued development of carbon nanotube (CNT)-reinforced epoxy (EP) for potential applications. Herein, hierarchical CNT nanohybrids using nickel phyllosilicate (Ni-PS) as surface decorations (CNT@Ni-PS) were synthesized, and the nanocomposites derived from varied mass fractions of EP and CNT@Ni-PS were prepared. The morphological structures, tribological performances, curing behaviors and thermal properties of EP/CNT@Ni-PS nanocomposites were carefully investigated. Results show that hierarchical CNT nanohybrids with homogeneous dispersion and well-bonded interfacial adhesion in the matrix are successfully obtained, presenting significantly improved thermal and tribological properties. Moreover, analysis on cure kinetics proves the excellent promotion of CNT@Ni-PS on the non-isothermal curing process, lowering the curing energy barrier steadily.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Chuangnian Zhang, Ying Dong, Jing Gao, Xiaoli Wang, Yanjun Jiang

    Here, we reported a cancer nanovaccine based on SiO2 nanoflowers with a special radial pore structure, which greatly enhanced cross-presentation and induced the production of cytotoxic T lymphocyte cells secreting granzymes B and interferon-γ. The antigen ovalbumin was covalently conjugated onto the as-synthesized hierarchical SiO2 nanoflowers, and the adjuvant cytosine-phosphate-guanine was electrostatically adsorbed into their radial pore by simple mixing before use. The nanovaccine exhibited excellent storage stability without antigen release after 27 days of incubation, negligible cytotoxicity to dendritic cells, and a high antigen loading capacity of 430 ± 66 mg·g−1 support. Besides, the nanovaccine could be internalized by dendritic cells via multiple pathways. And the enhancement of antigen/adjuvant uptake and lysosome escape of antigen were observed. Noteworthy, in vitro culture of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells in the presence of nanovaccine proved the activation of dendritic cells and antigen cross-presentation as well as secretion of proinflammatory cytokines. Besides, in vivo study verified the targeting of nanovaccine to draining lymph nodes, the complete suppression of tumor in six out of ten mice, and the triggering of notable tumor growth delay. Overall, the present results indicated that the nanovaccine can be served as a potential therapeutic vaccine to treat cancer.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Wei Wang, Haijun Lv, Juan Du, Aibing Chen

    In this present work, N-doped carbon nanobelts (N-CNBs) were prepared by a confined-pyrolysis approach and the N-CNBs were derived from a polypyrrole (Ppy) tube coated with a compact silica layer. The silica layer provided a confined space for the Ppy pyrolysis, thereby hindering the rapid overflow of pyrolysis gas, which is the activator for the formation of carbonaceous materials. At the same time, the confined environment can activate the carbon shell to create a thin wall and strip the carbon tube into belt morphology. This process of confined pyrolysis realizes self-activation during the pyrolysis of Ppy to obtain the carbon nanobelts without adding any additional activator, which reduces pollution and preparation cost. In addition, this approach is simple to operate and avoids the disadvantages of other methods that consume time and materials. The as-prepared N-CNB shows cross-linked nanobelt morphology and a rich porous structure with a large specific surface area. As supercapacitor electrode materials, the N-CNB can present abundant active sites, and exhibits a specific capacitance of 246 F·g1, and excellent ability with 95.44% retention after 10000 cycles. This indicates that the N-CNB is an ideal candidate as a supercapacitor electrode material.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Xiqing Luo, Miaomiao Jiang, Kun Shi, Zhangxian Chen, Zeheng Yang, Weixin Zhang

    For high performance supercapacitors, novel hierarchical yolk-shell a-Ni(OH)2/Mn2O3 microspheres were controllably synthesized using a facile two-step method based on the solvothermal treatment. The unique a-Ni(OH)2 based yolk-shell microstructures decorated with numerous interconnected nanosheets and the hetero-composition features can synergistically enhance reactive site exposure and electron conduction within the microspheres, facilitate charge transfer between electrolyte and electrode materials, and release structural stress during OH chemisorption/desorption. Moreover, the Mn2O3 sediments distributed over the a-Ni(OH)2 microspheres can serve as an effective protective layer for electrochemical reactions. Consequently, when tested in 1 mol·L−1 KOH aqueous electrolyte for supercapacitors, the yolk-shell a-Ni(OH)2/Mn2O3 microspheres exhibited a considerably high specific capacitance of 2228.6 F·g−1 at 1 A·g−1 and an impressive capacitance retention of 77.7% after 3000 cycles at 10 A·g−1. The proposed a-Ni(OH)2/Mn2O3 microspheres with hetero-composition and unique hierarchical yolk-shell microstructures are highly promising to be used as electrode materials in supercapacitors and other energy storage devices.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yong Luo, Yuhui Xie, Renjie Chen, Ruizhi Zheng, Hua Wu, Xinxin Sheng, Delong Xie, Yi Mei

    Design and exploitation of flame retardant polymers with high electrical conductivity are desired for polymer applications in electronics. Herein, a novel phosphorus-nitrogen intumescent flame retardant was synthesized from pentaerythritol octahydrogen tetraphosphate, phenylphosphonyl dichloride, and aniline. Low-density polyethylene was combined with the flame retardant and multi-walled carbon nanotubes to form a nanocomposite material via a ball-milling and hot-pressing method. The electrical conductivity, mechanical properties, thermal performance, and flame retardancy of the composites were investigated using a four-point probe instrument, universal tensile machine, thermogravimetric analysis, and cone calorimeter tests, respectively. It was found that the addition of multi-walled carbon nanotubes can significantly improve the electrical conductivity and mechanical properties of the low-density polyethylene composites. Furthermore, the combination of multi-walled carbon nanotubes and phosphorus–nitrogen flame retardant remarkably enhances the flame retardancy of matrixes with an observed decrease of the peak heat release rate and total heat release of 49.8% and 51.9%, respectively. This study provides a new and effective methodology to substantially enhance the electrical conductivity and flame retardancy of polymers with an attractive prospect for polymer applications in electrical equipment.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Carsten-Rene Arlt, Dominik Brekel, Stefan Neumann, David Rafaja, Matthias Franzreb

    The size fractionation of magnetic nanoparticles is a technical problem, which until today can only be solved with great effort. Nevertheless, there is an important demand for nanoparticles with sharp size distributions, for example for medical technology or sensor technology. Using magnetic chromatography, we show a promising method for fractionation of magnetic nanoparticles with respect to their size and/or magnetic properties. This was achieved by passing magnetic nanoparticles through a packed bed of fine steel spheres with which they interact magnetically because single domain ferro-/ferrimagnetic nanoparticles show a spontaneous magnetization. Since the strength of this interaction is related to particle size, the principle is suitable for size fractionation. This concept was transferred into a continuous process in this work using a so-called simulated moving bed chromatography. Applying a suspension of magnetic nanoparticles within a size range from 20 to 120 nm, the process showed a separation sharpness of up to 0.52 with recovery rates of 100%. The continuous feed stream of magnetic nanoparticles could be fractionated with a space-time-yield of up to 5 mg/(L∙min). Due to the easy scalability of continuous chromatography, the process is a promising approach for the efficient fractionation of industrially relevant amounts of magnetic nanoparticles.