Scientific News Boron Nitride Graphene Mixture May Be Suitable For Next-Generation Green Cars
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Scientific community has long been fascinated by boron nitride due to its unique properties: sturdy, ultra-thin transparent, insulating and lightweight. The boron is a material that can be used by a wide range of researchers.
According to researchers at Rice University a graphene film separated by boron nanotube columns could be used as a material for storing fuel hydrogen in automobiles.
The Department of Energy is setting the benchmark in storage materials to make hydrogen fuel a practical option for light vehicles. A new computational study by materials scientist Rouzbeh Sharsavari of Rice Lab has determined that pillared Boron Nitride and graphene may be suitable candidates.
Shahsavari's lab determined the elastic and columnar graphene structures by computer simulation, and then processed the boron nanotubes to create a mixture that simulates an unique three-dimensional structural design. (A sample boron nanotubes seamlessly bound to graphene is prepared.
As the pillars of the building provide space between floors for people, so do the pillars within the boron-nitride graphene. The goal is to keep them inside and then exit when needed.
The researchers discovered that the latest simulations of molecular dynamics showed that pillared carbon nitride and graphene have a high surface area (about 2.547 square meters/square meter) as well as good recyclability in ambient conditions. Their model shows adding oxygen or lithium will improve the material's ability to combine with hydrogen.
The researchers focused on four different simulations: a graphene pillared with boron or lithium, or a pillared carbon nitride.
The best graphene at room temperature was oxygen-doped boron oxide graphene. This graphene weighs 11.6% (weight capacity) and 60 g/L volume capacity.
The material's hydrogen weight was 14.77% in a cold temperature of -321 Fahrenheit.
The current US Department of Energy economic storage media goal is to store more hydrogen than 5.5% in weight and 40 grams of hydrogen per liter under moderate conditions. The ultimate target is 7.5% weight and 70 gram per liter.
Shahsavari explained that the hydrogen atoms adsorb on boron-nitride graphene without oxygen doping due to weak van der Waals forces. When the material has been doped with oxygen the atoms bind strongly to the mixture. This produces a surface that is better for hydrogen.
"Because the nature of charge and interaction, adding oxygen to the substratum gives us a strong bond," said he. "Oxygen, and hydrogen have been known to share a strong chemical affinity."
Shahsavari explained that the polarization characteristics of boron Nitride combined with graphene as well as the electron mobility in graphene themselves make the material highly adaptable to applications.
Shahsavari explains that "we are looking for the best point" which describes ideal conditions such as the balance of surface area, weight and material as well as the operating temperature and pressure. "This is only possible through computational modeling as we can test a lot of changes very quickly. In just a couple of days, the experimenter is able to finish the work that would normally take months.
He stated that these structures are strong enough to easily surpass the requirements of Department of Energy. This means that the hydrogen fuel tanks can withstand up to 1,500 charging and discharging cycles.
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