A new porous material has been developed by researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and Stockholm University. This material has exceptional properties for turning gasoline into diesel. Moreover, it has an intricate atomic structure that can be assessed only with the help of transmission electron microscopy.
The new aluminosilicate material called ITQ-39 has a porous structure and belongs to the zeolite class. Tiny molecules can easily pass through the material because of its porous structure. While passing, these molecules react with other molecules to produce a preferred product. Channels of different shape and size in varied directions are present in the material. Depending on the orientation of the molecule relative to the channels, the motion of the molecule is limited depending on the direction that it takes.
ITQ-39 is the most intricate zeolite material that has ever been discovered. Stockholm University researchers used electron crystallography to determine the material’s structure. Tiny crystals, down to a couple of nanometers, can be studied with the help of an electron microscope. In order to understand the material intricately, it requires a model of the arrangement pattern of atoms in the least ordered areas and a model of the linking of these domains into crystals.
Unlike other crystalline materials, ITQ-39 material has a type of chaotic order, which can be analyzed with the help of high-resolution images captured with an electron microscope. These images can then be used to produce a prototype of the material’s atomic structure.
The material has shown the ability to be a remarkable catalytic converter that can turn gasoline into diesel. Such a process becomes significant since the global fuel consumption is shifting more towards diesel.
The study was published in the scientific journal, Nature Chemistry.