May 7, 2013
Boron nitride whiskers exhibit extremely high surface area
Scientists in China are studying extremely high surface area boron nitride (BN) porous whiskers synthesized via a cost-effective and simple method. The material exhibits excellent hydrogen uptake capacity and also absorbs organic pollutants, which points towards applications in hydrogen storage and waste-water treatment.
The team from the Boron Nitride Research Center at Hebei University of Technology (HEBUT) used a facile approach for the synthesis of high-quality micro-porous/mesoporous BN whiskers. Readily available and inexpensive raw materials, namely – boric acid H3BO3 and melamine C3N6H6, were used as starting reactants.
The formation of the porous structure was attributed to the group elimination of organic species of a BN precursor – melamine diborate molecular crystal. This elimination path maintained the pore structure order and numerous structural defects.
To their surprise, the researchers found that the synthesized BN whiskers exhibited an exceptionally high surface area of 1687 m2/g and a large pore volume of 0.99 cm3/g. The high surface area, pore volume and structural defects make the BN whiskers highly suitable for hydrogen storage and waste-water treatment applications.
An excellent hydrogen uptake capacity with high weight adsorption up to 5.6% at room temperature and at relative low pressure of 3 MPa has been observed in the synthesized BN whiskers. Furthermore, the BN whiskers also exhibit excellent adsorption of methyl orange and copper ions with maximum removal capacities of 298.3 and 373 mg g–1 at 298 K, respectively.
Full details can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.
About the author
The study was conducted by researchers from the Boron Nitride Research Center led by Prof. Chengchun Tang at the Hebei University of Technology in China. Prof. Tang specializes in the synthesis and application of functional BN materials. Jie Li is a PhD student at Hebei University of Technology, under the supervision of Prof. Tang. Others who have contributed to this work as the authors are Drs. Jing Lin, Xuewen Xu, Xinghua Zhang, Yanming Xue, Jiao Mi, Zhaojun Mo, Ying Fan, Long Hu, Xiaojing Yang, Jun Zhang, Fanming Meng, all from Hebei University of Technology, and Prof. Songdong Yuan from Hubei University of Technology.