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A Swell Time For Gels

The new gel will be used tp absorb dangerous industrial spills.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) April 29, 2007
Japanese chemists have devised a gel that swells up to 500 times its size when in contact with solvents, an invention hailed as a breakthrough for absorbing dangerous industrial spills. The jelly-like substance is a successor to polyelectrolyte gels, which expand when in contact with water and are best known in nappies, also called diapers.

Polyelectrolyte gels, though, are useless in tackling organic, or carbon-based, solvents.

Their structure typically collapses because of the aggregation of charged atoms in such compounds, the only exceptions being "polar" solvents that are particularly water-loving.

A team led by Kazuki Sada of Kyushu University found a way around these by adding tetra-alkylammonium tetraphenylborate, a substance that attracts less-polar solvents.

The gel has been successfully tested on carbon tetrachloride, toluene, tetrahydrofuran and other common industrial solvents.

Their work is published online on Sunday by the journal Nature Materials.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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New Family Of Pseudo-Metallic Chemicals Could Create New Electronic Materials
Columbia, MO (SPX) Apr 25, 2007
The periodic table of elements, all 111 of them, just got a little competition. A new discovery by a University of Missouri-Columbia research team, published in Angewandte Chemie, the journal of the German Society of Chemists, allows scientists to manipulate a molecule discovered 50 years ago in such as way as to give the molecule metal-like properties, creating a new, "pseudo" element. The pseudo-metal properties can be adjusted for a wide range of uses and might change the way scientists think about attacking disease or even building electronics.







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