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Melt glass from insoluble compounds

Vahid Nozari of the University of Jena is using a microscope to look at new synthetic glasses composed of insoluble organic metal framework (MOF) compounds. Credit: Jens Meyer / University of Jena

Glasses are an essential part of everyday life. One of the most important reasons for this is that glass objects can be manufactured almost universally and inexpensively in a variety of shapes and sizes using the corresponding melts. Treatment in the (viscous) liquid phase offers a variety that is almost unattainable with other materials. However, this assumes that the materials that make up the glass can be completely melted in terms of chemical composition.


So-called organic metal framework compounds (MOF for short) have received a great deal of attention in recent years. Due to their special properties, they are believed to have great potential not only for energy and environmental technologies, but also as sensor components and for future applications in biological and life sciences. For example, MOF can be used as a starting material for filter membranes to separate gases in technical combustion processes, or for water treatment. The basis of many possible applications is, among other things, one of the superior properties of MOF: its high, mostly controllable porosity. MOF material is composed of inorganic particles that are connected by organic molecules to form a network of pores. Since MOF is primarily in powder form, the main challenge in this area is the manufacture of bulk components. Glasses play an active part here.

Trade-off between property and processability

However, with a few exceptions, the porosity of everything prevents the material from being meltable and therefore processable into components of the desired shape. Chemists at the University of Friedrichschiller in Jena, Germany, and the University of Cambridge, England, have found a solution to this problem. They report on the findings of the latest issue. Nature Communications..

To produce the components of Industrial application From MOF, they can be processed into so-called hybrid glass, for example. However, to do this, you need to melt them. In this particular case, this process is not easy. So far, only a handful of candidates for this class of material have been proven to be actually meltable. “In the most well-known MOF materials, high porosity is one of the reasons why they reach after thermal decomposition when heated. Melting pointVahid Nozari, a PhD student at the Institute of Glass Sciences at the University of Jena, makes these materials very interesting because of their very properties. Glass root.

Identifying combinations of ionic liquids, MOF matrices, and melting conditions

So how do you make a non-meltable material meltable for molding and processing in the liquid state? A team led by Professor Lothar Wondraczek of Jena found the answer to this question. “We filled the pores with an ionic liquid that stabilizes them. Inner surface Let the substance finally dissolve before it breaks down, “explains Wondraczek. Researchers have been able to show how the normally insoluble material of the MOF family of zeolite imidazolate frameworks (ZIF) is actually converted to a liquid state. And finally, glass. “In this way, the desired component can be obtained, for example, in the form of a membrane or disc. The residue of the ionic liquid used can be washed away after molding.”

The key to future applications is the interaction that occurs between ionic liquids and MOF materials. These determine the reversibility of the process, that is, the possibility of flushing the auxiliary liquid after the melting process. If the reaction is not adapted, the pore surface is not properly stabilized or there is an irreversible chemical bond between the MOF and some of the ionic liquids. Therefore, the ideal combination of liquid, matrix material, and melting conditions should be identified with the desired application in mind so that a large number of objects are possible.


New glass material made from organic and inorganic components


For more information:
Vahid Nozari et al, ionic liquids promoted melting of the organic metal framework ZIF-8. Nature Communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-021-25970-0

Quote: Melting glass from insoluble compounds (September 29, 2021) was obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-09-glasses-unmeltable-compounds.html on September 29, 2021.

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