Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

New porous metal-organic adsorbents as gas and drug carriers

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.04.03  Natural sciences and mathematics  Chemistry  Inorganic chemistry 

Code Science Field
P360  Natural sciences and mathematics  Inorganic chemistry 

Code Science Field
1.04  Natural Sciences  Chemical sciences 
metal carboxylates, porous materials, gas adsorption, gas separation, drug delivery
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (1)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  25023  PhD Matjaž Mazaj  Chemistry  Head  2011 - 2013  286 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,316 
Metal-organic porous materials (coordination polymers) are new class of crystalline materials built of metal units linked through organic linkers with strong covalent bonds forming three-dimensional porous structure. Due to their high specific surface area (up to 7000 m2/g), these materials possess exceptional adsorptive properties, which enable applications in the field of adsorption and selective separation of gases (removal of harmful gases from atmosphere). Metal-organic porous materials represent a great potential for drug delivery and controlled release applications and also for heterogenous catalysts due to the simplicity of synthetic procedures and possibility of engineering the crystal porous framework formation with non-toxic metal building units.   Proposed research will include the development of new porous magnesium and calcium polycarboxylates on aliphatic or aromatic basis for hydrogen storage, adsorption and selective separation of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4) and also for drug delivery and controlled release applications. Development of magnesium and calcium porous polycarboxylates will be performed by hydrothermal or solvothermal syntheses using magnesium and calcium-based salts and polycarboxylic aromatic and aliphatic acids. With optimization of synthetic parameters (temperature and time of crystallization, solvent choice, pH of reaction mixture) an effort to produce thermally stable materials with accessible micropores (pore dimensions from 0.3 to 2 nm) or mesopores (pore dimensions above 2 nm) and high surface specific areas (up to 7000 m2/g) and to control their hydrophilic properties will be made.   New magnesium- and calcium-based polycarboxylates will be structurally characterized with various methods. Purity and morphology of crystalline phases will be investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Crystal structures will be determined by X-ray powder diffraction (XRD – Rietveld method) or single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Crystal structure determination process will be supported by additional characterization methods, such as elemental analysis (ICP, EDAX), thermogravimetry (TG) and infra-red spectroscopy (IR). Adsorptive properties of materials will be primarily tested by nitrogen sorption analysis and further by adsorption with other gases (CO2, CH4, H2) at low pressures (up to 1 bar) and high pressures (up to 100 bar) at different temperatures. Tests on adsorption and controlled release of selected model drugs (ibuprofen, indomethacin, etc.) will also be performed.   In Slovenia there are no research groups focusing on development of metal-organic porous materials as potential environmental friendly adsorbents. Among numerous world wide scientific publications involving research of these materials, magnesium and calcium polycarboxylates are still not well known. Mg-/Ca-salts and aliphatic/aromatic polycarboxylic acids as starting reactants are non-expensive and non-toxic for environment and organisms. Relative low weight of magnesium and calcium and consequently low densities of these materials enable higher w/w uptake of hosting molecules to adsorbent in comparison with already known transition-metal polycarboxylates. Above mentioned properties are important factors in gas adsorption and drug delivery applications. The use of non-expensive, non-toxic initial compounds and simplicity of synthetic procedures (relatively low temperatures and short times of crystallization) in syntheses of magnesium and calcium polycarboxylates are in accordance with ecological trends of lower energy consumption and efforts for cleaner environment.
Significance for science
Rapid global industrial development in last sixty years caused increased emission of gases which are produced in industrial processes and also in domestic work. General opinion is that these gases are the main reason for the global warming problem induced the efforts to decrease the emission of greenhouse gases. Beside the efforts to find the alternative sources which could replace the use of fossil fuels (eg. Hydrogen), the effective adsorption of greenhouse gases on the spot of emission represents the other approach that can contribute to the process of achieving Kioto goals (decreasing emission of greenhouse gases for 20% until the year 2020). The Development of the materials which are able to selectively adsorb CO2 from the mixture of gases also opens new possibilities of CO2 exploitation. Pure CO2 could be extracted from emission gases for further catalytic conversion to methanol, which represents one of the alternative, environmental friendly energy sources for the future. Beside the challenges in the environmental technologies, the progress in pharmaceutical industry is also important. Big challenge still represents the development of non-toxic materials for the effective absorption and controlled release of drugs. By the controlled drug release, the instant dosing, which can cause side effects, is avoided. Most of the today known drug carriers possess low absorption capacities (usually less than 5 wt.% of the transported drug in respect to the mass of the carrier material). Drugs are usually absorbed on the external surface which does not insure the controlled release of the drug inside the body. However, non-toxic metal-organic porous materials with the ability of tunning their structures and porosity for better interactions and more effective drug absorption have great potential for application in this field. Concluded project was focused on the development of new adsorption materials and gaining new basic knowledge of preparation and properties of these materials and contributed to the development of science in the fields of environmental and pharmaceutical technologies. The extensive studies of new adsorbents contributed to the explanation and optimization the parameters which crucially impact the adsorption properties and contributed to the easier engineering of the materials preparation with the specific physical-chemical properties.
Significance for the country
The development of new porous materials with a great potential in adsorption applications has exceptional value for Slovenian industry and economy. The development of new efficient adsorbents for storage and selective separation of greenhouse gases is in accordance with the trends for decreasing harmful gases emissions in Slovenia. The development of non-toxic adsorbents is also important for pharmacy and it can contribute to the more efficient drug-to-organism impact with less side effects. The scope of this project was the first thorough investigation on metal-organic frameworks in Slovenia. From this point of view this investigation is unique in Slovenian environment. With the increased interest for new adsorption technologies, Silkem factory from Kidričevo, our long-term partner on porous materials development, could have financial and development benefits. The other long-term partner, pharmaceutical company Krka from Novo Mesto could also have benefits in the development of drugs. The development of synthetic procedures and gained new knowledge concerning specific structural characteristics (adsorbent-to-adsorbate interactions) have positive impact on academic sphere as well.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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