Projects of Young SUSU Scientists: New Material for Environment Protection Created

Today the ecological problem is topical for the mankind more than ever, and the world’s leading scientists are working on solving it. A whole number of scientific projects in this field are being fulfilled at South Ural State University, including the creation of new materials for water and air treatment in industry.

New Sorbents for Environment

The project on Synthesis of Mesoporous Materials Based on Transition Metals was awarded a grant at Forward to Discoveries 2017 contest. The research is headed by Candidate of Sciences (Chemistry), Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Material Science and Physical-and-Chemical Properties of Materials Dmitry Zherebtsov. The author of the project, Master Degree student of the SUSU Institute of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dmitry Tolstoguzov shares on the advantages of the new material and possibilities of its application.

“Our project aims at obtaining new catalysts and sorbents. These materials may be widely used in various industrial installations or emissions treatment plants. Today the ecological problem is among the global-scale ones, and sorbents, which have a capacity to absorb hazardous substances from the environment, may be used in this field. We’re dealing with the processes of obtaining catalysts and sorbents from transition metals. These include iron, nickel, and copper, that is those metals which are widely used today and have optimal price.”

Mesoporous Material Is Used as a “Sieve”

The development of mesoporous materials began in the 90s of the 20th century, when platinum, oxide compounds and other substances were used. With their small-sized pores mesoporous materials may be used as a “sieve” trapping hazardous substances and preventing them from entering the environment.

“We’re working with metals, using the electrochemical method. Mesoporous materials have already been obtained by this method, and our current task is to achieve the same results using chemical method and powder metallurgy technique,” explains Dmitry Tolstoguzov. “Earlier this work was done using various oxide compounds. The only metal used for producing mesoporous materials was platinum. But using such expensive metals is inexpedient, so we selected more available materials which also allow for efficient use in the working process.”

Mesoporous materials with sorbing properties may act as catalysts in oil refinery. Their use in catalytic processes of hydrogenation or hydro-treatment of petroleum products is more cost efficient since today this field uses expensive materials such as molybdenum and cobalt. The scientists of South Ural State University suggested more widespread metals. Their implementation will open a possibility to further determine which of the materials is most suitable for certain oil refinery processes.

Currently the material is obtained using the electrochemical method. Future plans of the scientists are related to searching for an optimal way of creating mesoporous materials, as well as to analyzing the properties of the obtained substance. Studying its characteristics will allow to determine the efficiency of its implementation in industry for environment protection.

Viktoria Matveichuk
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