Polymer Passes Up N2 For CO2 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 91 Issue 3 | p. 26 | Concentrates
Issue Date: January 21, 2013

Polymer Passes Up N2 For CO2

Azo groups are key for keeping nitrogen at bay
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Organic SCENE, Analytical SCENE, Materials SCENE
Keywords: nanoporous polymer, azo, carbon dioxide, nitrogen
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An organic polymer with azo groups soaks up CO2 and rejects N2.
Credit: Ali Coskun
Photo of an organic polymer with azo groups soaks up CO2 while rejecting N2.
 
An organic polymer with azo groups soaks up CO2 and rejects N2.
Credit: Ali Coskun

Although scientists have come up with many materials for soaking up excess carbon dioxide, most have drawbacks that keep them from ever leaving the lab. In the case of organic nanoporous polymers, the problem is that as temperatures rise, these materials have trouble differentiating CO2 from nitrogen gas. Now a team led by Cafer T. Yavuz and Ali Coskun of Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology has come up with polymers that get better at separating CO2 from N2 as they get hotter (Nat. Commun., DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2359). The nanoporous polymers feature aromatic groups bridged by azo units. The researchers believe that these azo units make the materials N2-phobic. “Any gas separations that require the efficient exclusion of N2 gas would do well to employ azo units in the sorbent chemistry,” they note. The polymers are stable up to 350 °C in air and can also survive a boiling water bath for a week. They are particularly good at keeping out N2 under typical industrial plant gas-discharge temperatures of above 40 °C.

 
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