Silica-based nanoporous microparticles for controlled release applications and development of creative materials
Nanoporous silica microparticles, such as MCM-41 and SBA-15, have remarkable properties due to their well-defined structure, tunable pore size, narrow pore size distribution, and low bulk density. These properties have resulted in great interest of this material as catalytic support and applications related to adsorption and separation processes.
The main scientific objective of this project is to understand how structural properties of nanoporous silica particles can be exploited for controlled release applications and for development of new lightweight creative materials. Solid knowledge of structural properties of nanoporous silica is central for fundamental understanding of its material properties with respect to applications; this aspect is highly considered in this project plan. To utilize nanoporous silica in general, and for the specific applications of this project in particular, it is crucial to implement a thorough characterization of the material. From a scientific perspective, the characterization of nanoporous silica allows for detailed investigations of fundamental scientific phenomena, such as capillary condensation and peculiarities related to molecular confinement, which can be theoretically addressed by concepts of colloidal chemistry. To accomplish a good characterization we will combine several experimental techniques, such as nitrogen sorption, water sorption calorimetry, quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), rheology, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and synchrotron X-ray scattering. Besides fundamental research, these methods allow for determination of structure-related parameters, which are essential for characterization of structure-function relationships relevant for applications and products.
The main scientific issues that will be addressed in this project are as follows:
•Characterization of synthetic and natural nanoporous materials for increased understanding of their properties and structural features and how these materials can be utilized for controlled release applications or creative materials
•The influence of hydrophobic substances on structure and surface properties of nanoporous silica-based materials
•Controlled release from ordered mesoporous silica to regulate the rate of hardening of dental cement
•Interaction forces between nanoporous silica particles and hydrophobic binders at varying relative humidity
•Impedance spectroscopy as a tool for characterizing macroscopic pore connectivity of mesoporous silica under the influence of varying relative humidity
The results from this project are expected to provide fundamental knowledge of structural properties of nanoporous silica materials and form a foundation for development and renewal of products.