Micro and Nano Chemical Reactors

Engineering with microreactors and nanoreactors. ‘Two new innovations show what the chemical reactors of the future could look like. One involves a microreactor that produces clean, safe energy, while the other is a nano-scale molecular cage – or nanoreactor – that can transport molecules to their site of use.’

Pitt Professor Designs Less-Risky Reactor for Clean, Safe Energy. ‘Reactors that burn hydrogen or natural gas to generate energy can be dirty and dangerous. The mix of air with hydrogen or natural gas can explode easily if composition and temperature are not carefully controlled. And reactors often produce polluting byproducts. Now, University of Pittsburgh researcher Goetz Veser has created a safer alternative—microreactors that won’t explode, no matter what the gas composition or how hot they get, and that can keep undesirable pollutants, like nitrogen oxides (NOx), from forming. His results could be used to design processes for safe, clean energy production and hydrogen storage.’

Container transport on a nano scale. ‘Lock one or more molecules up within a cage of nanometer dimensions. Take this ‘nanocontainer’ to the desired spot and free the molecules. Or keep them locked up for a while and introduce other molecules into the container, for chemical reactions inside. By using polymers containing iron, it is possible to make intelligent containers of which the access of molecules can be regulated in a chemical way. A research team led by prof Julius Vancso of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology (The Netherlands) has succeeded in fabricating these nanocontainers. The scientists foresee exciting applications in e.g. medicine, in adding additives to food or in ultrafast reactions in nano chemistry.’



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