Researchers turn CO2 into polyurethane precursor

China/Japan: Researchers from Kyoto University, the University of Tokyo in Japan and Jiangsu Normal University in China have developed a new material that can selectively capture carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules and convert them into ‘useful’ organic materials, including a precursor for polyurethane. The research project has been described in the journal Nature Communications.

The material is a porous coordination polymer (PCP, also known as a metal-organic framework), a framework consisting of zinc metal ions. The researchers tested their material using X-ray structural analysis and found that it can selectively capture only CO2 molecules with ten times more efficiency than other PCPs. The material has an organic component with a propeller-like molecular structure, and as CO2 molecules approach the structure, they rotate and rearrange to permit CO2 trapping, resulting in slight changes to the molecular channels within the PCP. This allows it to act as molecular sieve that can recognise molecules by size and shape. The PCP is also recyclable; the efficiency of the catalyst did not decrease even after 10 reaction cycles.

After capturing the carbon, the converted material can be used to make polyurethane, a material with a wide variety of applications including insulation materials.

Written by Global Insulation staff

Post time: Oct-18-2019