Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



CIVIL NUCLEAR
Discovery could reduce nuclear waste by chemically reengineering molecules
by Staff Writers
Bloomington IN (SPX) Sep 19, 2017


A triazolophane molecule with chloride in the center suspended inside a liquid solution. A similar image appears on the cover of the Sept. 14 issue of the journal CHEM. Image courtesy Yun Liu and Danny McMurray, Indiana University.

A discovery by Indiana University researchers could advance the long-term storage of nuclear waste, an increasingly burdensome and costly task for the public and private agencies that protect people from these harmful chemicals.

In a study published Sept. 14, the scientists report they have developed a new chemical principle with the potential to revolutionize the creation of specially engineered molecules that extract radioactive elements from nuclear waste, significantly reducing the volume of these dangerous materials. The method is also applicable to molecules created to extract chemical pollutants from water and soil.

"This work represents a major step forward in the effort to engineer specially designed nanostructures by providing a new, highly accurate method to predict how these molecules will behave in solution," said lead author Amar Flood, a professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Chemistry.

The research is reported in a cover article in the journal CHEM.

Flood said the study addresses the fact that it is nearly impossible to predict how efficiently an engineered molecule will perform in the real world. This is because chemists can currently only design molecules to function in isolation, despite the fact that molecules exist in combination - or "in solution" - with other molecules. Salt water, for example, is a solution of salt in water.

He compared the situation to designing a machine in outer space and then placing it at the bottom of the ocean. The waterlogged device will not function the same as the original design.

This is especially serious because creating artificial molecules to serve a specific function requires extremely precise design - like building a lock to fit a key. For example, a special molecule developed by Flood's lab, called a cyanostar, consists of a five-sided star-shaped lattice of carbon and nitrogen atoms with an empty center - the "lock" - whose specific shape causes negatively charged molecules such as phosphates and nitrates - the "key" - to catch in the center and break off from their previous host. If the solution fills up or warps the lock, the key might no longer work.

Structures such as the cyanostar are also known as "receptor molecules" because they are specially designed to receive specific molecules. In addition to accomplishing nuclear waste reduction, this technology may be used to remove chloride from water - a part of the process used to convert seawater into freshwater - to eliminate excess chemical fertilizers from soil, or to gather lithium ions used in renewable power.

With the methods reported in the paper, Flood said, chemists can start to design new molecular reactions with the end goal in mind. Specifically, the new principle finds that the attraction between receptor molecules and negatively charged ion molecules is based on the dielectric constant of the solvent in which they're combined. A dielectric constant is a measurement of a substance's ability to stabilize electrical charge.

To test their method, the IU team applied their newly developed chemical principle to triazolophane - a molecule designed to extract chloride from surrounding molecules - in combination with chemical solvents commonly used in reactions to remove unwanted ions from other liquids. In each case, the principles discovered by Flood's group accurately predicted the molecules' effectiveness.

The primary researcher responsible for the method is Yun Liu, a Ph.D. student in Flood's lab.

"The current paradigm only works for molecular designs on the drawing board, in theory, " said Liu. "But we want to make molecules that will work in practice to help solve problems in the real world."

The team also noted that the ability to accurately predict how a molecule will function in solution will assist in the development of highly accurate computer simulations to rapidly test chemically engineered molecules designed to achieve specific effects.

Research paper

CIVIL NUCLEAR
PM opens country's fifth nuclear power plant
Islamabad (AFP) Sept 8, 2017
Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday inaugurated the country's fifth nuclear power plant, developed in collaboration with China amid hopes that his government could end chronic power shortages this year. Pakistan is one of the few developing countries pursuing atomic energy in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, as it seeks to close an electricity ... read more

Related Links
Indiana University
Nuclear Power News - Nuclear Science, Nuclear Technology
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

CIVIL NUCLEAR
A sweeter way to make green products

How to draw electricity from the bloodstream

Scientists make methanol using air around us

Could switchgrass help China's air quality?

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Defects in next-generation solar cells can be healed with light

Dubai awards contract for final phase of solar park

Engineers develop tools to share power from renewable energy sources during outages

Obama-era solar power program reaches goal early

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Kimberly-Clark next U.S. company to draw more on renewables

UK wind electricity cheaper than nuclear: data

Last of the 67 turbines for a British wind farm installed

Light-based method makes remote wind measurements easier and more accurate

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Scientists propose method to improve microgrid stability and reliability

ADB: New finance model needed for low-carbon shift in Asia

China merges energy giants into global leader

Power demand to peak in Europe summers, not winters: study

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Corvus Energy wins contract to provide battery systems for hybrid fishing vessels

Researchers challenge status quo of battery commercialization

More durable, less expensive fuel cells

A revolution in lithium-ion batteries is becoming more realistic

CIVIL NUCLEAR
UN slams UK government over 'plague' of air pollution

Sri Lanka bans plastic after garbage crisis

Brazil government freezes Amazon mining plans

Gaza boy swimmer death puts spotlight on pollution crisis

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Rally in oil prices stalls despite global tensions

Iran 'prepared for any measure' for oil market stability

China provides $10 billion credit line to Iran

Russia's Gazprom raises investment guideline

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Discovery of boron on Mars adds to evidence for habitability

Life on Mars: Let's Try Oman Desert First for Space Mission

Citizen scientists spot Martian 'spiders' in unexpected places

Big dishes band together




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement