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Reversibility of La and Lu sorption onto smectites: Implications for the design of engineered barriers in deep geological repositories

Galunin, E; Alba, MD; Aviles, MA; Santos, MJ; Vidal, M
Journal of Hazardous Materials, 172 (2009) 1198-1205


The sorption reversibility of La and Lu (considered as actinide analogues) onto a set of smectites (bentonite FEBEX; hectorite, HEC; MX80; saponite, SAP; Otay montmorillonite, SCa-3; and Texas montmorillonite, STx-1) was studied to estimate actinide retention by smectites that are candidates for use as engineered barriers in deep geological repositories. The sorption distribution coefficients (K d) and the reversibility parameters (desorption distribution coefficients (K d,des), adjusted distribution coefficients (K d,adj), and desorption rates (R des)) were determined from batch tests in two ionic media: deionized water and Ca 0.02 mol L -1. The latter simulates possible conditions due to the presence of concrete leachates. The results varied greatly depending on the ionic medium, the lanthanide concentration and the clay structure. The high values of K d,des obtained (up to 1.1 × 10 5 and 9.2 × 10 4 L kg -1 for La and Lu in water, and 2.8 × 10 4 and 4.1 × 10 4 L kg -1 for La and Lu in the Ca medium) indicate the suitability of the tested smectites for lanthanide (and therefore, actinide) retention. Based on all the data, SCa-3, HEC and FEBEX clays are considered the best choices for water environments, whereas in Ca environments the suitable clays depended on the lanthanide considered.

Diciembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.07.124

Characterization of illuminated manuscripts by laboratory-made portable XRD and micro-XRD systems

Duran, A; Perez-Rodriguez, JL; Espejo, T; Franquelo, ML; Castaing, J; Walter, P
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 395 (2009) 1997-2004


Illuminated Arabic manuscripts have been studied, employing two laboratory-made X-ray diffraction (XRD) systems developed recently in the C2RMF laboratory. The validity of the µ-XRD and XRD portable systems for the study of this type of artworks has been demonstrated. A common observation in all the analyses is the presence of calcite and rutile; also, hematite, goethite, cinnabar, brass, anatase and barite were detected in the various colours. Differences between the results obtained by both techniques due to acquisition mode are discussed. In addition, other techniques such as X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and micro-Raman were used for the complete characterization of the manuscripts.

Diciembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1007/s00216-009-2992-5

Study of metallic components of historical organ pipes using synchrotron radiation X-ray microfluorescence imaging and grazing incidence X-ray diffraction

Herrera, LK; Justo, A; Munoz-Paez, A; Sans, JA; Martinez-Criado, G
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 395 (2009) 1969-1975


A comparative study of the composition and microstructure of two different brass alloys from reed pipes, one from a Spanish baroque organ and the other from a modern one, was carried out. This study allowed us to determine the procedure followed to produce the brass used to make ancient reed pipes. Moreover the distribution and correlation of lead and other trace elements present into the main component of the brass, the copper and zinc phases, of the historical tongues and shallots were established. This chemical composition was compared with that of a tongue from a twentieth-century organ. The whole study was accomplished using a combination of laboratory and synchrotron radiation techniques. X-ray fluorescence was the technique used to obtain elemental and chemical imaging of the main phases and the trace elements at a sub-micrometer scale.

Diciembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1007/s00216-009-3075-3

Thermogravimetric and in situ SEM characterisation of the oxidation phenomena of protective nanocomposite nitride films deposited on steel

Mege-Revil, A; Steyer, P; Thollet, G; Chiriac, R; Sigala, C; Sanchez-Lopez, JC; Esnouf, C
Surface and Interface Analysis, 204 (2009) 893-901


The lifetime of TiN coatings is often limited by its poor resistance to high temperatures. For an optimized addition of silicon, both mechanical and physico-chemical properties are enhanced, owing to the formation of a nanocomposite structure. In this study, pure Ti and TiSi (80/20) targets were arc-evaporated to produce hard, single-layered coatings. Magnetron sputtered SiNx films were also synthesized for a comparison purpose. The nanocomposite structure was determined by XRD and TEM, and its efficiency regarding the mechanical properties was confirmed by nanohardness measurements. Through thermogravimetric experiments it is shown that in isothermal and dynamic conditions, the chemical stability inherent to SiNx controls the oxidation behaviour of TiSiN. However, in thermal cycling conditions TiSiN withstand efficiently temperature variations whereas SiNx does not. The aim of this study is to understand the role of SiNx on the oxidation of the TiSiN nanocomposite film. For this purpose, an in situ approach of the oxidation phenomena is detailed, based on experiments performed in an environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) operating in controlled pressure mode up to 1000 °C. ESEM, used in real-time oxidative conditions, has been proved to be an efficient tool to characterise the mechanism of degradation. The successive steps of the attack throughout the in situ oxidation process are as follow: oxidation first initiates at coating defects (open pores and droplets), then spreads to the whole surface. The whole flaking of the film that is observed at the microscopic scale during the cooling step proves the poor thermal fatigue resistance of SiNx. This strong propensity to cracking is explained on the basis of thermo-mechanical considerations. The nanocomposite structure thus combines the chemical stability inherent to the SiNx matrix with the beneficial thermo-mechanical properties associated to TiN nanograins.

Diciembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2009.06.040

Metal carbide/amorphous C-based nanocomposite coatings for tribological applications

Sanchez-Lopez, JC; Martinez-Martinez, D; Abad, MD; Fernandez, A
Surface and Coatings Technology, 204 (2009) 947-954


This paper tries to assess the factors governing the tribological behaviour of different nanocomposites films composed by metallic carbides (MeC) mixed with amorphous carbon (a-C). Different series of MeC/a-C coatings (with Me: Ti(B) and W) were prepared by magnetron sputtering technique varying the power applied to the graphite target in order to tailor the carbon content into the films. A deep investigation of the chemical and structural features at the nano-scale is carried out by X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) and Raman spectroscopy techniques in order to establish correlations with the tribological properties measured by a pin-on-disk tribometer in ambient air. The analysis of the counterfaces by Raman confocal microscopy after the friction tests is used to follow the chemical phenomena occurring at the contact area responsible of the observed friction behaviour. The importance of determining the fraction of C atoms in the amorphous phase (xa-C) is highlighted as a key-parameter to control the tribological properties. A comparative analysis of the mechanical and tribological performance of the three systems (TiC/a-C, WC/a-C, TiBC/a-C) is done and conclusions are obtained concerning the friction and wear mechanism involved.

Diciembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2009.05.038

Hybrid catalytic-DBD plasma reactor for the production of hydrogen and preferential CO oxidation (CO-PROX) at reduced temperatures

Rico, VJ; Hueso, JL; Cotrino, J; Gallardo, V; Sarmiento, B; Brey, JJ; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Chemical Communications, 41 (2009) 6192-6194


Dielectric Barrier Discharges (DBD) operated at atmospheric pressure and working at reduced temperatures (T < 115 °C) and a copper–manganese oxide catalyst are combined for the direct decomposition and the steam reforming of methanol (SRM) for hydrogen production and for the preferential oxidation of CO (CO-PROX)

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1039/b909488a

Self-Assembling of Er2O3-TiO2 Mixed Oxide Nanoplatelets by a Template-Free Solvothermal Route

Julian-Lopez, B; Martos, M; Ulldemolins, N; Odriozola, JA; Cordoncillo, E; Escribano, P
Chemistry-A European Journal, 15 (2009) 12426-12434


An easy solvothermal route has been developed to synthesize the first mesoporous Er2O3-TiO2 mixed oxide spherical particles composed of crystalline nanoplatelets, with high surface area and narrow pore size distribution. This synthetic strategy allows the preparation of materials at low temperature with interesting textural properties without the use of surfactants, as well as the control of particle size and shape. TEM and Raman analysis confirm the formation of nanocrystalline Er2O 3-TiO2 mixed oxide. Mesoscopic ordered porosity is reached through the thermal decomposition of organic moieties during the synthetic process, thus leading to a template-free methodology that can be extended to other nanostructured materials. High specific surface areas (up to 313 m 2g-1) and narrow pore size distributions are achieved in comparison to the micrometric material synthesized by the traditional sol-gel route. This study opens new perspectives in the development, by solvothermal methodologies, of multifunctional materials for advanced applications by improving the classical pyrochlore properties (magnetization, heat capacity, catalysis, conductivity, etc.). In particular, since catalytic reactions take place on the surface of catalysts, the high surface area of these materials makes them promising candidates for catalysts. Furthermore, their spherical morphology makes them appropriate for advanced technologies in, for instance, ceramic inkjet printers.

Noviembre, 2009 | DOI: 10.1002/chem.200901423

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

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

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

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