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Bonding Structure and Mechanical Properties of Ti-B-C Coatings

Abad, MD; Caceres, D; Pogozhev, YS; Shtansky, DV; Sanchez-Lopez, JC
Plasma Processes and Polymers, 6 (2009) S107-S112


Nanocomposite coatings combining hard phases (TiB2, TiC) with an amorphous carbon (a-C) were developed to provide a good compromise between mechanical and tribological properties for M2 steels used in a wide variety of applications such as cutting tools, bearings and gear mechanisms. A combined d.c.-pulsed and r.f.-magnetron deposition process was used to deposit nanocomposite TiBC/a-C coatings with a variable content of carbon matrix phase. Chemical composition was determined by electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that the coatings microstructure is rather amorphous with small nanocrystals of TiC and/or TiB2 (not possible to differentiate by diffraction techniques). Investigation of the chemical bonding environment by XPS and EELS allows us to confirm the presence of titanium-boron and titanium-carbon bonds together with free a-C. Coatings exhibited hardness values (H) of 25–29 GPa, effective Young modulus (E*) of 310–350 GPa, H/E* ratios over 0.080 and resistance to plastic deformation (H3/E*2) from 0.15 to 0.20. Tribological properties of the coatings were characterized by a pin-on-disk tribometer using steel and WC balls at high contact stresses (1.1 and 1.4 GPa respectively). Friction coefficients were reduced from 0.6 to 0.2 by increasing the content of free carbon without reduction of the hardness (around 28 GPa), by self-lubricant effects. The tribo-mechanical data are revised according to the phase composition and chemical bonding inside the nanocomposites.

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1002/ppap.200930403

Synthesis and characterization of a plant cutin mimetic polymer

Heredia-Guerrero, JA; Heredia, A; Garcia-Segura, R; Benitez, JJ
Polymer, 50 (2009) 5633-5637


A mimetic polymer of plant cutin have been synthesized from 9,10,16-trihydroxyhexadecanoic (aleuritic) acid through a low temperature polycondensation reaction. Reaction conditions (solvent, catalyst, temperature, etc…) were studied and modified to optimize yield and product characteristics. The resulting polyaleurate polymer was characterized by Attenuated Total Reflection-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and solid state 13C-Cross Polarization/Magic Angle Spinning Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (13C-CP/MAS NMR). Mechanical and hydrodynamic properties were also investigated. In the average, the product obtained is physically and chemically very similar to plant cutin (a hydrophobic polyester). However, a more detailed analysis of results reveals that polyaleurate framework is more rigid than natural cutin and with additional larger short-range ordered domains. Also, the synthetic polymer displays slightly different mechanical properties with respect to natural cutin. Additional hydrogen bonding within the framework of polyaleurate is considered to be responsible for such experimental observations.

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2009.10.018

Advanced combined application of μ-X-ray diffraction/μ-X-ray fluorescence with conventional techniques for the identification of pictorial materials from Baroque Andalusia paintings

Herrera, LK; Montalbani, S; Chiavari, G; Cotte, M; Sole, VA; Bueno, J; Duran, A; Justo, A; Perez-Rodriguez, JL
Talanta, 80 (2009) 71-83


The process of investigating paintings includes the identification of materials to solve technical and historical art questions, to aid in the deduction of the original appearance, and in the establishment of the chemical and physical conditions for adequate restoration and conservation. In particular, we have focused on the identification of several samples taken from six famous canvases painted by Pedro Atanasio Bocanegra, who created a very special collection depicting the life of San Ignacio, which is located in the church of San Justo y Pastor of Granada, Spain. The characterization of the inorganic and organic compounds of the textiles, preparation layers, and pictorial layers have been carried out using an XRD diffractometer, SEM observations, EDX spectrometry, FT-IR spectrometry (both in reflection and transmission mode), pyrolysis/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and synchrotron-based μ-X-ray techniques. In this work, the advantages over conventional X-ray diffraction of using combined synchrotron-based μ-X-ray diffraction and μ-X-ray fluorescence in the identification of multi-layer paintings is demonstrated.

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.talanta.2009.06.032

Methane steam reforming in a microchannel reactor for GTL intensification: A computational fluid dynamics simulation study

Arzamendia, G; Dieguez, PM; Montes, M; Odriozola, JA; Sousa-Aguiar, EF; Gandia, LM
Chemical Engineering Journal, 154 (2009) 168-173


The integration of the steam reforming and combustion of methane in a catalytic microchannel reactor has been simulated by computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Two models including 4 or 20 square microchannels of 20 mm of length and 0.7 mm of side have been developed. It has been assumed that a thin and homogeneous layer of an appropriate catalyst has been uniformly deposited onto the channels walls. The kinetics of the steam reforming of methane (SRM), water-gas shift (WGS) and methane combustion in air have been incorporated into the models. This has allowed simulating the effect of the gas streams space velocities, catalyst load, steam-to-carbon (S/C) ratio and flow arrangement on the microreformer performance. The results obtained illustrate the potential of microreactors for process intensification: complete combustion of methane is achieved at gas hourly space velocities (GHSV) as high as 130,000 h−1. As concerns the SRM, methane conversions above 97% can be obtained at high GHSV of 30,000 h−1 and temperatures of 900–950 °C. Under these conditions selectivity for syngas is controlled by the WGS equilibrium.

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cej.2009.01.035

Characterization of sepiolite-gel-based formulations for controlled release of pesticides

Maqueda, C; Partal, P; Villaverde, J; Perez-Rodriguez, JL
Applied Clay Science, 46 (2009) 289-295


Novel controlled release formulations (CRFs) were developed for reducing leaching of herbicides and contamination of groundwater. The herbicide metribuzin (MTB) was entrapped within a sepiolite-gel matrix using a novel and ultrasound-based technique. Different sepiolite/herbicide matrices (either as a gel or as a powder after freeze-drying) were prepared with pesticide loading between 28.6 and 9.1%. The release of MTB from the control released formulations into water was retarded when compared with commercial formulation (CF), except in the case of the sepiolite-gel-based formulations with lower amounts of sepiolite. The rheological properties and microstructure of these formulations were examined in detail. FTIR spectra showed that there was no evidence of herbicide inside the sepiolite tunnels. The SEM micrograph of the sepiolite-gel-based formulations showed the fibrous morphology typical of sepiolite and no separate particles of MTB were found. However, the chemical analysis by EDX confirmed the presence of S, N, and C, which were attributed to MTB, together with the fibers of sepiolite. Rheological characterization indicated that samples containing MTB develops a microstructure, which is irrespective of concentration above 1 mass % sepiolite. There was a good agreement between the microstructure characteristics and MTB release behavior.

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.clay.2009.08.019

Combined kinetic analysis of thermal degradation of polymeric materials under any thermal pathway

Sanchez-Jimenez, PE; Perez-Maqueda, LA; Perejon, A; Criado, JM
Polymer Degradation and Stability, 94 (2009) 2079-2085


Combined kinetic analysis has been applied for the first time to the thermal degradation of polymeric materials. The combined kinetic analysis allows the determination of the kinetic parameters from the simultaneous analysis of a set of experimental curves recorded under any thermal schedule. The method does not make any assumptions about the kinetic model or activation energy and allows analysis even when the process does not follow one of the ideal kinetic models already proposed in the literature. In the present paper the kinetics of the thermal degradation of both polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and polyethylene (PE) have been analysed. It has been concluded, without previous assumptions on the kinetic model, that the thermal degradation of PTFE obeys a first order kinetic law, while the thermal degradation of PE follows a diffusion-controlled kinetic model.

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2009.07.006

The hydrothermal conversion of kaolinite to kalsilite: Influence of time, temperature, and pH

Becerro, AI; Escudero, A; Mantovani, M
American Mineralogist, 94 (2009) 11-12


Kalsilite (the low-temperature form of KAlSiO4) is used as the precursor of leucite, an important component in porcelain-fused-to-metal and ceramic-restoration systems, and it has also been proposed as a high-thermal expansion ceramic for bonding to metals. The present study reports the hydrothermal synthesis and characterization of pure kalsilite from kaolinite in subcritical conditions, as well as the characterization of the intermediate products by means of XRD, 29Si and 27Al MAS NMR, IR, SEM, and TEM. Effects of time, temperature, and pH on the reaction products are analyzed. The experimental data indicate that pure kalsilite is obtained after hydrothermal treatment of kaolinite at 300 °C for 12 h in 0.5 M KOH solution. Longer reaction times increase the crystallinity of the structure, whereas lower reaction times give rise to the metastable ABW-type KAlSiO4 polymorph. Lower temperatures are not sufficient to produce kalsilite, but zeolite W is obtained instead as the unique reaction product. Finally, the pH of the aqueous solution in contact with kaolinite is an important parameter for the synthesis of kalsilite, which must be ≥13.70.

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.2138/am.2009.3284

Ionic liquid templated TiO2 nanoparticles as a support in gold environmental catalysis

Avellaneda, RS; Ivanova, S; Sanz, O; Romero-Sarria, F; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Applied Catalysis B-Environmental, 93 (2009) 140-148


This work presents the synthesis of a nanostructured titania support and its subsequent utilization for the gold particles deposition and application in the reaction of the CO oxidation. A functionalized ionic liquid has been used as a templating agent for the titanium oxide synthesis resulting in a high specific surface nanostructured titania anatase. The as prepared support was then used for gold nanoparticles deposition without ionic liquid removal in order to study the possible role of the latter in the stabilization of the gold particles. The presence of ionic liquid in the catalysts results in an unusual catalytic behaviour—strong dependence on the presence of CO and changed kinetics and rate of oxidation.

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2009.09.023

Mesostructured Thin Films as Responsive Optical Coatings of Photonic Crystals

Hidalgo, N; Calvo, ME; Miguez, H
Small, 5 (2009) 2309-2315


A synthetic route is presented to attain high-optical-quality multilayered structures that residtfront coupling ordered n7esoporous tilaniuni oxide thin films to the surface of a dense one-dimensional photonic crystal. Such architectures present spectrally well-defined photon resonant modes localized in the outer coating that finely respond to physicochemically induced modifications of its pore volume. The potential of these porous coatings in detection of environmental changes through variations of the photonic response of the ensemble is demonstrated by performing isothermal optical reflectance measurements under controlled vapor-pressure conditions.

Octubre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1002/smll.200900411

Manganese and iron oxides as combustion catalysts of volatile organic compounds

Duran, FG; Barbero, BP; Cadus, LE; Rojas, C; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA
Applied Catalysis B-Environmental, 92 (2009) 194-201


FeMn mixed oxides were prepared by the citrate method with Fe:Mn atomic ratio equal to 1:1, 1:3 and 3:1. The sample was characterized by means of specific surface area measurements, X-ray diffractometry (XRD), temperature programmed desorption of oxygen (O2-DTP), temperature programmed reduction (TPR), X-ray fluorescence (XRF), transmission electron microscopy (TEM and SAED) and high resolution TEM (HREM). The characterization results demonstrated the formation of a Mn2O3–Fe2O3 solid solution. The catalytic performance in ethanol, ethyl acetate and toluene total oxidation on these samples was better than on Fe2O3 and Mn2O3 pure oxides.

Octubre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2009.07.010

Optical Analysis of the Fine Crystalline Structure of Artificial Opal Films

Lozano, G; Dorado, LA; Schinca, D; Depine, RA; Miguez, H
Langmuir, 25 (2009) 12860-12864


Herein, we present a detailed analysis of the structure of artificial opal films. We demonstrate that, rather than the generally assumed face centered cubic lattice of spheres, opal films are better approximated by rhombohedral assemblies of distorted colloids. Detailed analysis of the optical response in a very wide spectral range (0.4 ≤ a/λ ≤ 2, where a is the conventional lattice constant), as well as at perpendicular and off-normal directions, unambiguously shows that the interparticle distance coincides very approximately with the expected diameter only along directions contained in the same close-packed plane but differs significantly in directions oblique to the [111] one. A full description of the real and reciprocal lattices of actual opal films is provided, as well as of the photonic band structure of the proposed arrangement. The implications of this distortion in the optical response of the lattice are discussed.

Octubre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1021/la903077r

Hydrothermal Synthesis of Kalsilite: A Simple and Economical Method

Becerro, AI; Mantovani, M; Escudero, A
Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 92 (2009) 2204-2206


This study reports a simple method to synthesize pure kalsilite (KAlSiO4) using readily available precursors, kaolinite and KOH solution, after only 12 h of hydrothermal treatment in mild conditions. A structural refinement has been carried out using the Rietveld method to obtain unit cell parameters, and the 29Si and 27Al magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance spectra have shown the purity and complete Si/Al ordering of the kalsilite structure obtained. Finally, the morphology of the particles has been analyzed by scanning electron microscopy.

Octubre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1551-2916.2009.03232.x

Vibrational spectroscopy characterization of magnetron sputtered silicon oxide and silicon oxynitride films

Godinho, V; Denisov, VN; Mavrin, BN; Novikova, NN; Vinogradov, EA; Yakovlev, VA; Fernandez-Ramos, C; de Haro, MCJ; Fernandez, A
Applied Surface Science


Vibrational (infrared and Raman) spectroscopy has been used to characterize SiOxNy and SiOx films prepared by magnetron sputtering on steel and silicon substrates. Interference bands in the infrared reflectivity measurements provided the film thickness and the dielectric function of the films. Vibrational modes bands were obtained both from infrared and Raman spectra providing useful information on the bonding structure and the microstructure (formation of nano-voids in some coatings) for these amorphous (or nanocrystalline) coatings. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis have also been carried out to determine the composition and texture of the films, and to correlate these data with the vibrational spectroscopy studies. The angular dependence of the reflectivity spectra provides the dispersion of vibrational and interference polaritons modes, what allows to separate these two types of bands especially in the frequency regions where overlaps/resonances occurred. Finally the attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared measurements have been also carried out demonstrating the feasibility and high sensitivity of the technique. Comparison of the spectra of the SiOxNy films prepared in various conditions demonstrates how films can be prepared from pure silicon oxide to silicon oxynitride with reduced oxygen content.

Octubre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2009.07.101

Hg/Sn amalgam degradation of ancient glass mirrors

Herrera, LK; Duran, A; Franquelo, ML; Justo, A; Perez-Rodriguez, JL
Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 355 (2009) 1980-1983


Tin amalgam, which is obtained by pouring mercury onto a sheet of tin, has been used in the production of reflective coatings for mirrors. The corrosion processes of the amalgam layer were investigated in several mirrors from historical buildings located in southern Spain using SEM/EDS, XPS, and GID. Mercury and Sn4+ are present as spheres on the amalgam surface due to the evaporation process (∼5 nm). The profile shows a mixture of Sn2+ and Sn4+. The original amalgam was composed of a binary alloy of tin and mercury (Hg0.1Sn0.9) and metallic tin. In this paper the tin oxidation mechanism of the amalgam is described. Liquid mercury is volatile and evaporates slowly, leaving fine tin particles that oxidize easily, forming tin monoxide (SnO) and tin dioxide (SnO2). The mercury-rich phase accelerates the corrosion of the tin-rich phase.

Octubre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2008.11.045

Formation of Nitrogen Functional Groups on Plasma Treated DLC

Lopez-Santos, C; Yubero, F; Cotrino, J; Contreras, L; Barranco, A; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Plasma Processes and Polymers, 6 (2009) 555-565


Diamond like carbon (DLC) thin films have been exposed to different nitrogen containing plasmas. A dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) at atmospheric pressure and a microwave discharge (MW) at low pressure using N2 and mixtures Ar + NH3 have been compared. Optical Emission and X-ray Photoelectron spectroscopies, Atomic Force Microscopy and contact angle measurements have been used for this study. A DBD with Ar + NH3 is the most efficient method for DLC functionalization. Films treated with this plasma presented the highest concentration of amine groups as determined by derivatization with 4-chlorobenzaldehyde. All the treated samples underwent a significant aging with time. The efficiency of the different plasmas for DLC functionalization is discussed in the light of the intermediate species detected in the plasma.

Septiembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1002/ppap.200900019

Rare-earth disilicate formation under Deep Geological Repository approach conditions

Alba, MD; Chain, P; Orta, MM
Applied Clay Science, 46 (2009) 63-68


The Deep Geological Repository (DGR) concept involves the placement of long-lived radioactive waste in rooms excavated deep. The major responsibility of the disposal safety falls on the Engineered Barrier System (EBS). The main constituent of EBS is bentonite that prevents the release of radiactive nuclei by physical and chemical mechanisms. The physical mechanism is expected to fault with the weathering of the bentonite while the chemical mechanisms have been only proved at 300 °C. It is the aim of this paper to explore the feasibility of the chemical mechanism at temperatures closer to the DGP conditions and to shed light on the mechanism of transformation of the argillaceous materials of the EBS in rare-earth disilicate phases. Saponite was submitted to hydrothermal reaction at 175 °C and 150 °C with different solutions of REE3+ cations (REE = Sc, Lu, Y, Sm, Nd and La). The products were analyzed by XRD, NMR and electron microscopy. At conditions close to the DGP, the saponite was able to form rare-earth silicates. The formation of the disilicate phase, as final product, needs a set of stages and oxyorthosilicate as precursor.

Septiembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.clay.2009.07.012

Influence of sulfur on the structural, surface properties and photocatalytic activity of sulfated TiO2

Colon, G; Hidalgo, MC; Navio, JA; Kubacka, A; Fernandez-Garcia, M
Applied Catalysis B-Environmental, 90 (2009) 633-641


TiO2 materials were prepared by sol–gel method and then impregnated with sulfuric acid and calcined using different temperatures and atmosphere (air and nitrogen). Systematic variation of these two experimental parameters makes possible to modulate the amount of surface sulfur from the impregnation procedure. The best photocatalyst for liquid phenol degradation was obtained after calcination at 700 °C in air, while gas toluene degradation optimum performance is obtained by calcination at 700 °C in nitrogen from 500 °C. Structural analysis of these materials by XRD, micro-Raman spectroscopy and FE-SEM shows that once calcined at 700 °C the material was a well-crystallized, high surface area anatase structure in all cases. The surface characterization by FTIR and XPS confirms the presence of a higher amount of sulfur species and acidic OH groups in samples partially calcined in nitrogen, and a low XPS O/Ti-atomic ratio with the O 1s peak shifted to higher binding energies (1.8 vs. 2 ± 0.1 and 530.4 eV vs. 529.8 eV, respectively, against the reference materials) for samples calcined at 700 °C, temperature at which most of sulfate species have been evolved. The paper presents an attempt to correlate the contribution of the observed structural defects within the anatase sub-surface layers and surface acidity to the different photoactivity behaviour exhibited for phenol liquid phase and toluene gas phase photodegradation.

Agosto, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.apcatb.2009.04.026

Incorporation and Thermal Evolution of Rhodamine 6G Dye Molecules Adsorbed in Porous Columnar Optical SiO2 Thin Films

Sanchez-Valencia, JR; Blaszczyk-Lezak, I; Espinos, JP; Hamad, S; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Barranco, A
Langmuir, 25 (2009) 6869-6874


Rhodamine 6G (Rh6G) dye molecules have been incorporated into transparent and porous SiO2 thin films prepared by evaporation at glancing angles. The porosity of these films has been assessed by analyzing their water adsorption isotherms measured for the films deposited on a quartz crystal monitor. Composite Rh6G/SiO2 thin films were prepared by immersion of a SiO2 thin film into a solution of the dye at a given pH. It is found that the amount of Rh6G molecules incorporated into the film is directly dependent on the pH of the solution and can be accounted for by a model based on the point of zero charge (PZC) concepts originally developed for colloidal oxides. At low pHs, the dye molecules incorporate in the form of monomers, while dimers or higher aggregates are formed if the pH increases. Depending on the actual preparation and treatment conditions, they also exhibit high relative fluorescence efficiency. The thermal stability of the composite films has been also investigated by characterizing their optical behavior after heating in an Ar atmosphere at increasing temperatures up to 275 °C. Heating induces a progressive loss of active dye molecules, a change in their agglomeration state, and an increment in their relative fluorescence efficiency. The obtained Rh6G/SiO2 composite thin films did not disperse the light and therefore can be used for integration into optical and photonic devices.

Agosto, 2009 | DOI: 10.1021/la900695t

Chemical and electronic interface structure of spray pyrolysis deposited undoped and Al-doped ZnO thin films on a commercial Cz-Si solar cell substrate

Gabas, M; Barrett, NT; Ramos-Barrado, JR; Gota, S; Rojas, TC; Lopez-Escalante, MC
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 93 (2009) 1356-1365


We have studied differences in the interface between undoped and Al-doped ZnO thin films deposited on commercial Si solar cell substrates. The undoped ZnO film is significantly thicker than the Al-doped film for the same deposition time. An extended silicate-like interface is present in both samples. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and photoelectron spectroscopy (PES) probe the presence of a zinc silicate and several Si oxides in both cases. Although Al doping improves the conductivity of ZnO, we present evidence for Al segregation at the interface during deposition on the Si substrate and suggest the presence of considerable fixed charge near the oxidized Si interface layer. The induced distortion in the valence band, compared to that of undoped ZnO, could be responsible for considerable reduction in the solar cell performance.

Agosto, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.solmat.2009.02.018

Identification of hydrogen and deuterium at the surface of water ice by reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy

Yubero, F; Tokesi, K
Applied Physics Letters, 95 (2009) 084101


A nondestructive method to distinguish between hydrogen (H) and deuterium (D) at surfaces by reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy is presented. It is based on the analysis of the energy distributions of electrons elastically backscattered from surfaces containing H or D. We consider standard and deuterated water ices as test surfaces. The recoil energy of the backscattered electrons depends on the atomic mass of the targets, and the contributions of H, D, and O to the measured spectra can be easily separated. The results of Monte Carlo simulations corroborate the experimental findings.

Agosto, 2009 | DOI: 10.1063/1.3202402