Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Specific surface area


We report the template-free, low-temperature synthesis of a stable, amorphous, and anhydrous magnesium carbonate nanostructure with pore sizes below 6 nm and a specific surface area of ∼ 800 m(2) g(-1), substantially surpassing the surface area of all previously described alkali earth metal carbonates. The moisture sorption of the novel nanostructure is featured by a unique set of properties including an adsorption capacity ∼50% larger than that of the hygroscopic zeolite-Y at low relative humidities and with the ability to retain more than 75% of the adsorbed water when the humidity is decreased from 95% to 5% at room temperature. These properties can be regenerated by heat treatment at temperatures below 100°C.The structure is foreseen to become useful in applications such as humidity control, as industrial adsorbents and filters, in drug delivery and catalysis.

Concepts: Chemical reaction, Magnesium, Heat, Adsorption, Solid, Specific surface area, Surface chemistry, BET theory


Until now, few sp carbon materials simultaneously exhibit superior performance for specific surface area (SSA) and electrical conductivity at bulk state. Thus, it is extremely important to make such materials at bulk scale with those two outstanding properties combined together. Here, we present a simple and green but very efficient approach using two standard and simple industry steps to make such three-dimensional graphene-based porous materials at the bulk scale, with ultrahigh SSA (3523 m/g) and excellent bulk conductivity. We conclude that these materials consist of mainly defected/wrinkled single layer graphene sheets in the dimensional size of a few nanometers, with at least some covalent bond between each other. The outstanding properties of these materials are demonstrated by their superior supercapacitor performance in ionic liquid with specific capacitance and energy density of 231 F/g and 98 Wh/kg, respectively, so far the best reported capacitance performance for all bulk carbon materials.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Density, Water, Chemical bond, Physical quantities, Ionic bond, Specific surface area, Porous media


A chemiluminescence (CL) amplification platform based on HCC/Lucigenin&GOx (HLG) film was developed. Hollow structural calcium carbonate (HCC) particles were used as alternative materials for carrying both enzyme and CL reagent. The model enzyme (GOx), immobilized in confined space of HCC particles, exhibited an improved biocatalysis. The Michaelis constant (Km) and the enzymatic rate constant (kcat) were determined to be 0.209 μM and 2.21 s(-1), respectively, which are much better than those of either free GOx in aqueous solution or the GOx immobilized on common nanomaterials. Based on the HLG platform, CL signal was effectively amplified and visualized after adding trace glucose, which could be attributed to the HCC particles' high biocompatibility, large specific surface area, attractive interfacial properties and efficient interaction with analyses. The visual CL bioplatform showed an excellent performance with high selectivity, wide linear range and low detection limit for sensing trace glucose. Because it eliminates the need of complicated assembly procedure and enables visualization by the naked eye, the sensitive and selective CL bioplatform would provide wide potential applications in disease diagnosis and food safety.

Concepts: Signal transduction, Enzyme, Glucose, Catalysis, Calcium carbonate, Chemical kinetics, Glucose meter, Specific surface area


Albedo-a primary control on surface melt-varies considerably across the Greenland Ice Sheet yet the specific surface types that comprise its dark zone remain unquantified. Here we use UAV imagery to attribute seven distinct surface types to observed albedo along a 25 km transect dissecting the western, ablating sector of the ice sheet. Our results demonstrate that distributed surface impurities-an admixture of dust, black carbon and pigmented algae-explain 73% of the observed spatial variability in albedo and are responsible for the dark zone itself. Crevassing and supraglacial water also drive albedo reduction but due to their limited extent, explain just 12 and 15% of the observed variability respectively. Cryoconite, concentrated in large holes or fluvial deposits, is the darkest surface type but accounts for <1% of the area and has minimal impact. We propose that the ongoing emergence and dispersal of distributed impurities, amplified by enhanced ablation and biological activity, will drive future expansion of Greenland's dark zone.

Concepts: Water, Ice sheet, Greenland ice sheet, Glacier, Specific surface area, Type, Sublimation, Glaciology


This study investigated the influence of body size and composition on maintaining hand temperature during severe cold exposure. The hand’s high surface area-to-volume ratio predisposes the hand to heat loss, increasing the risk of cold injury and even hypothermia, which are major selective pressures in cold environments. While vasoregulation may reduce heat loss from the hand, the effect of body form, tissue thermogenesis, and body insulation on heat loss is unknown.

Concepts: Physiology, Temperature, Thermodynamics, Heat, Heat transfer, Hand, Surface-area-to-volume ratio, Specific surface area


Dry ultra-porous cellulose fibres were obtained using a liquid exchange procedure in which water was replaced in the following order: water, methanol, acetone, and finally pentane; thereafter, the fibres were dried with Ar(g). The dry samples (of TEMPO-oxidized dissolving pulp) had a specific surface area of 130 m(2)g(-1) as measured using BET nitrogen gas adsorption. The open structure in the dry state was also revealed using field emission scanning electron microscopy. This dry open structure was used as a scaffold for in situ polymerization. Both poly(methyl methacrylate) and poly(butylacrylate) were successfully used as matrix polymers for the composite material (fibre/polymer), comprising approximately 20 wt% fibres. Atomic force microscopy phase imaging indicated a nanoscale mixing of the matrix polymer and the cellulose fibril aggregates and this was also supported by mechanical testing of the prepared composite where the open fibre structure produced superior composites. The fibre/polymer composite had a significantly reduced water absorption capacity also indicating an efficient filling of the fibre structure with the matrix polymer.

Concepts: Protein, Hydrogen, Cellulose, Scanning electron microscope, Specific surface area, Fiberglass, Aramid, Cellulose fiber


An effective alkali pretreatment which affects the structural properties of cellulose (corn cob) has been studied. The pretreatment of corn cob was carried out with different combinations of alkali at varying temperatures. The most effective pretreatment of corn cob was achieved with 1 % alkali at 50 °C in 4 h. The crystallinity index (CrI) and specific surface area (SSA) of untreated corn cob was 39 % and 0.52 m(2)/g wherein after alkali pretreatment CrI decreased to 15 % and SSA increased to 3.32 m(2)/g. The fungal organism was identified as Penicillium pinophilum on the basis of ITS sequence. At 5 % substrate concentration using a complete cellulase from Penicillium pinophilum the hydrolysis of untreated corn cob with 5, 10 and 20 FPU/g enzyme loadings were 11 %, 13 % and 16 %, whereas after alkali treatment the hydrolysis increased to 78 %, 90 % and 100 %, respectively. Further hydrolytic potential of commercial cellulases viz. Accellerase™ 1,000, Palkofeel-30 and Palkocel-40 were investigated under similar conditions.

Concepts: Enzyme, Fungus, Starch, Cellulose, Hydrolysis, Cellulosic ethanol, Specific surface area, Cellulase


A highly stable high-temperature CO2 sorbent consisting of scaffold-like Ca-rich oxides (CaAlO) with rapid absorption kinetics and a high capacity is described. The Ca-rich oxides were prepared by annealing CaAlNO3 layered double hydroxide (LDH) precursors through a sol-gel process with Al(O(i) P)3 and Ca(NO3 )2 with Ca(2+) /Al(3+) ratios of 1:1, 2:1, 4:1, and 7:1. XRD indicated that only LDH powders were formed for Ca(2+) /Al(3+) ratios of 2:1. However, both LDH and Ca(OH)2 phases were produced at higher ratios. Both TEM and SEM observations indicated that the CaAlNO3 LDHs displayed a scaffold-like porous structure morphology rather than platelet-like particles. Upon annealing at 600 °C, a highly stable porous network structure of the CaO-based CaAlO mixed oxide (CAMO), composed of CaO and Ca12 Al14 O33 , was still present. The CAMO exhibited high specific surface areas (up to 191 m(2)  g(-1) ) and a pore size distribution of 3-6 nm, which allowed rapid diffusion of CO2 into the interior of the material, inducing fast carbonation/calcination and enhancing the sintering-resistant nature over multiple carbonation/calcination cycles for CO2 absorption at 700 °C. Thermogravimetric analysis results indicated that a CO2 capture capacity of approximately 49 wt % could be obtained with rapid absorption from the porous 7:1 CAMO sorbents by carbonation at 700 °C for 5 min. Also, 94-98 % of the initial CO2 capture capability was retained after 50 cycles of multiple carbonation/calcination tests. Therefore, the CAMO framework is a good isolator for preventing the aggregation of CaO particles, and it is suitable for long-term cyclic operation in high-temperature environments.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Oxide, Oxides, Hydroxide, Specific surface area, Hydroxides, Layered double hydroxides


A new technique that allows direct three-dimensional (3D) investigations of mesopores in carbon materials and quantitative characterization of their physical properties is reported. Focused ion beam nanotomography (FIB-nt) is performed by a serial sectioning procedure with a dual beam FIB-scanning electron microscopy instrument. Mesoporous carbons (MPCs) with tailored mesopore size are produced by carbonization of resorcinol-formaldehyde gels in the presence of a cationic surfactant as a pore stabilizer. A visual 3D morphology representation of disordered porous carbon is shown. Pore size distribution of MPCs is determined by the FIB-nt technique and nitrogen sorption isotherm methods to compare both results. The obtained MPCs exhibit pore sizes of 4.7, 7.2, and 18.3 nm, and a specific surface area of ca. 560 m2/g.

Concepts: Electron, Hydrogen, Surfactant, Mesoporous material, Mesoporous silica, Coal, Specific surface area, Porous media


Polyaniline hollow spheres (PANI-HS)@electrochemical reduced graphene oxide (ERGO) hybrids with core-shell structures have been fabricated via a solution-based co-assembly process. The hollow nanostructured designing for the PANI-HS greatly enlarges the specific surface area, providing high electroactive regions and short diffusion lengths for both charge and ion transport. The wrapping of ERGO sheets on the PANI-HS can offer highly conductive pathways by bridging individual PANI-HS together, thus facilitating the rate and cycling performance of supercapacitors. The specific capacitance of PANI-HS36@ERGO hybrids can reach 614 F g1 at a current density of 1 A g1. Furthermore, the capacitance of the PANI-HS36@ERGO hybrids maintains 90% after 500 charging/discharging cycles at a current density of 1 A g1, indicating a good cycling stability. The greatly enhanced electrochemical performance can be ascribed to the synergic effects of the two components of PANI-HS and ERGO, suggesting that the PANI-HS@ERGO hybrids as novel electrode materials may have potential applications in high performance energy storage devices.

Concepts: Electric charge, Electricity, Fundamental physics concepts, Electric current, Electrochemistry, Battery, Specific surface area, Flywheel energy storage