Elies Molins has given lectures at the International Conference on Materials Science (ICMS), at the Center for Applied Nanotechnology (CNAP) and at the Universidad Autonoma de Chile. His conferences have been about porous materials and their applications in catalysis and medicine.
"Porous Materials Everywhere" (ICMS and CNAP)
Read here the abstract of the conference that Elies Molins gave at the ICMS and CNAP:
The strategy of letting spaces within matter seems ubiquitous. Matter itself is empty, where the tiny electrons keep separated the nuclei. Voids and the permeability among them are models for a large number of processes. Even life evolution has found in porosity the solution to several challenges, i.e. inside bones, especially in birds, in wood or in sea sponges. Open porosity allows filtration, converting the water of the rivers in drinkable, while closed porosity insulates our houses and beds from weather and noise, making them comfortable. Innovative domains and technologies are recursively using the porosity strategy, i.e. in textiles or in food. Some designed porous materials take advantage of magnitudes that increase at small sizes, such as specific surface areas or surface tension. Others appear because of synergies: combining hydrophobicity with suitable textures gives rise to superhydrophobicity, like the porosity of GoreTex® textiles, which allow vapor but not liquid water to cross.
In materials science and technology, three large domains can be distinguished: porous metals, porous ceramics and porous polymers. However, where there are much more opportunities is at the bottom, in the nanoworld. It’s an old method to make vacuum by cooling down zeolites using liquid nitrogen. Small pores may also act as microreactors, and functionalizing their surface make reactions more selective and specific. Specially designed zeolites are used for the cracking of hydrocarbons. Aerogels, being more than 99% air, are the most porous materials and the best thermal insulators as well. The preparation and characterization of porous materials is also challenging often with specific methods and technologies. The presentation will cover an overview of these fascinating materials emphasizing the huge opportunities they offer for innovation.