Research drives lubes development.
New research has revealed that there may be a more effective method of developing base oils than physico-chemical/thermodynamics. Studying the physical properties of alkanes, the predominant components of lubricants (such as methane, propane, ethane and butane), researchers have used the molecular structure of alkanes to predict the boiling point, heat capacity and vapour pressure as a function of temperature. The results reproduced by this deep learning tool algorithm are significantly more accurate and consistent than those reproduced by other methods.
Dr Gareth Conduit (Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and co-founder of Intellegens) said “We developed the deep learning tool Alchemite™ that is not only capable of predicting physical properties of alkanes, but has shown to accurately estimate intractable properties like density and shear viscosity."
Meanwhile a new catalyst that can convert carbon dioxide into simple chemicals has been discovered by a team of researchers from Canada and the US.
Water electrolysers transform water and electricity into hydrogen and oxygen. "But in our case, we add CO2 to the cocktail and, instead of producing hydrogen, we can generate various hydrocarbons, such as ethylene, which is the most widely used organic compound worldwide,” researcher F. Pelayo García de Arquer, of the University of Toronto (Canada) said.
The team has managed to overcome the challenge of transporting the CO2 to penetrate acqueous solutions and reaching the entire surface of the material through the use of a polymer coating.
CO2 can also be converted into a fuel, a low-cost particle that can be produced at an industrial scale, according to researchers at USC Viterbi School of Engineering, collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The team has discovered a metal carbide nanoparticle (a compound of carbon and metal) that can convert CO2 into fuel that, for the first time, can be produced sustainably at low temperature.
“Basically what we’re doing is we’re turning the carbon dioxide from carbon oxygen bonds to carbon hydrogen bonds. So, we’re turning carbon dioxide back into hydrocarbons,” Malmstadt, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at USC Viterbi said.
“Hydrocarbons are basic fuel stock. You can either turn them into fuel stock chemicals such as methane or propane. Or you can use them as the basis for chemical synthesis so they can be building blocks for making more complex chemicals."