Conference Programme

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L-01: Symp L
Monday, 19/Jun/2017:
1:30pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Gopinathan Sankar, University College London
Location: Rm 309

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1:30pm - 2:00pm

Nature-Inspired Engineering of High-Performance Porous Materials

Marc-Olivier COPPENS

University College London, United Kingdom

Research in the Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering at UCL applies fundamental mechanisms underlying desirable properties in natural systems to address engineering problems, while cognizant of the often different context of the natural and the technological problem. Desirable properties include scalability, efficiency, robustness and adaptability. The motivation behind our work is double: (1) Our challenges related to energy, environment, water, healthcare and sustainable production are enormous, and so require truly transformative solutions, with a radically different approach, beyond the incremental changes offered by well-travelled paths; (2) Nature offers many examples of exceptional performance, well beyond that of similar processes in technology, by applying mechanisms that are under-resourced in technology. Hence, there is a huge gap to bridge, but there is hope, and unraveling nature’s “secrets” is a way to achieve a more sustainable world.

Our nature-inspired (chemical) engineering (NICE) approach focuses primarily on a number of ubiquitous mechanisms, including hierarchical transport networks (such as in lungs, the vascular network and trees), force-balancing (not only at macroscopic scales, but also at the nano-scale, as in aquaporins or chaperones), and dynamic self-organization (both in non-living matter, like regular patterns on sand dunes, and biological systems, like the organization of bacteria or people). Nature is particularly powerful in its ways to maintain functionality over a wide range of scales, apply nano-confinement to achieve higher performance in, for example, separation and catalytic processes, and use dynamics as an organizing principle for adaptability and healing.

We will illustrate the NICE approach for the design and synthesis of porous materials for a variety of functions, from (bio)catalysis and separations to fuel cells, and to achieve self-healing adaptive functionality.

2:00pm - 2:30pm

Cost-effective Large-scale Synthesis of Oxygen-defective ZnO Photocatalyst with Superior Activities under UV and Visible Light


Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, China

A cost-effective solution method was developed to produce ZnO photocatalyst in large quantity, through the conversion of e-Zn(OH)2 to ZnO in NaOH solutions. Experimental results indicated that the concentrated NaOH solution (4 mol·L-1) promoted the rapid formation of ZnO owing to the enhanced dissolution-precipitation reactions. The large-scale synthesis was also achieved with high-yield and solvent-recyclability. Structural analysis based on X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, electron spin resonance and photoluminescence revealed that the as-prepared ZnO photocatalyst was rich in oxygen vacancies (VO). The VO-rich ZnO photocatalyst exhibited improved visible-light absorption, higher photocurrent responses and superior activities toward the degradation of rhodamine B under both UV (l~254 nm) and visible-light illumination (l>420 nm) compared to commercial ZnO and P25 TiO2 powders, as well as good cycle stability. Based on the results of photoluminescence and active species detection, the VO-enhanced photocatalytic activity was attributed to the generation of VO-isolated level in the band structure. Under UV light, the VO-level could promote charge separation by trapping the photoinduced electrons, while under visible-light, the VO-level improved visible-light absorption and facilitated the charge generation. The presently developed synthesis may potentially benefit the large-scale production and low-cost application of ZnO photocatalyst for solar energy utilization.

2:30pm - 2:45pm

An Efficient and Effective Solution to the Current Industrial Problem of Composite Aircraft Repairs

Riddhi Dharmeshbhai NAIK

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

With the accelerated use of composites in the aviation industry, composite repairs have become an inevitable part of it. The current problem with both manual and automated repair is, even with precise machining there are bond failures due to inadequate surface quality.

This work presents a framework for generating a quality surface and analysing the surface quality post machining to reduce the high expenses of surface preparation and increase the reliability of bonded joints for both manual and robotic repairs. The framework includes two steps - measuring the surface topography characteristics using a surface profiler and measuring contact angle using liquid drop test. The effects of machining parameters to make tapered scarf and stepped repairs were investigated through a series of experimental testing. Manual machining and the parameters affecting it were studied in depth. The quality of machined surface was improved by hand abrasion which was further assessed by microscopic examination. To support the analysis and interpretations obtained from microscope, the specimen surface quality was evaluated by quantifying the topographical features of the surface. The results obtained from surface quality check helped to predict and ensure the surface has adequate interface properties for the incoming new patch. From the results obtained during the study and various experimental investigations, this work tries to establish a quality check measure for all the incoming repairs in the aviation industry. This detailed work will be useful in making the whole repair process more efficient and reliable for composite repairs which can cut the cost of aircraft down time up to 30%. This makes the complete bonded repair process more efficient by eradicating or minimizing the chances of re-repairs due to bond failures.

2:45pm - 3:00pm

Solution Combustion Synthesis of Variety of Nanomaterials for Harvesting Solar Energy by Photocatalytic and Photovoltaic Ways

Daya Mani ALLUMOLU1,2, Subrahmanyam CHALLAPALLI2

1Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, India; 2Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, India

Since its discovery in 1985 by K.C. Patil, solution combustion synthesis (SCS) becomes a prominent solution based technique for the synthesis of wide range of nanomaterials. In the present report a systematic study on the synthesis of TiO2 by combustion synthesis was presented. Initially titanylnitrate (oxidant) synthesis was optimized by using four different ways[1]. Later different fuels were studied and correlated the resulting TiO2 physico-chemical and photocatalytic properties with respect to the number of moles of gases evolved during combustion[2]. In order to further enhance the visible light absorption and suppress the exciton recombination coupled semiconductor concept is more beneficial (Ex: CdS/TiO2). Therefore initially metal sulfides (MS, M=Cd, Zn, Co, Ni, and Cu) were synthesized by using this approach for the first time at ambient conditions[3]. Interestingly it is observed that stoichiometry selective synthesis of metal sulfides can be achieved by simple change of oxidant to fuel ratio. These are found to supersede Pt as counter electrode in quantum dot sensitized solar cells. Co9S8, Ni3S2, and Cu2S were found to be the favorable candidates among the respective metal sulfides to act as counter electrodes[4,5]. Thereafter the SCS approach was used to synthesize CdS/TiO2 composites in a single step. These materials have shown very good performance for H2 production by photocatalytic water splitting (11.7 mmol/h/g)[6]. Therefore a systematic study towards synthesizing better photocatalytic material for energy and environmental applications has been elaborated.


[1] A.D. Mani et. al., Mater. Res. Bull., 2012, 47, 2415–2421.

[2] A.D. Mani et. al., Chem. Eng. J., 2013, 228, 545–553.

[3] A.D. Mani et. al., RSC Adv., 2014, 4, 23292–23298.

[4] A.D. Mani et. al., Electrochim. Acta, 2014, 139, 365–373.

[5] A.D. Mani et. al., Mater. Chem. Phys., 2014, 148, 395-402.

[6] A.D. Mani et. al., Mater. Res. Bull., 2016, 73, 377–384.

3:00pm - 3:15pm

Facile Fabrication and Orientation Analysis of Ribbon-Shaped Floating Thin Films of Conjugated Polymers

Atul Shankar Mani TRIPATHI1, Shifumi SADAKATA1, Manish PANDEY1, Shuichi NAGAMATSU2,3, Shyam S. PANDEY1, Shuzi HAYASE1,3, Wataru TAKASHIMA1,3

1Graduate School of Life Science and Systems Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology Japan; 2Department of Computer Science and Electronics, Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan; 3RCAET Kyushu Institute of Technology, Japan

Conjugated polymers (CPs) have emerged as one of the strong candidate materials in organic electronics owing to their low cost of device fabrication, flexibility and enormous material design possibilities. The main feature of this class material lies in the preparation of the thin film via facile solution processing. One dimensional structure of CPs having extended π-conjugation along the polymer main chain strongly supports anisotropic charge transport. Therefore, it is of prime importance to develop an adequate thin film casting procedure in order to promote and evaluate the anisotropy transport characteristics. Our group has developed a unique method for thin film fabrication to attain highly oriented film on liquid substrate known as dynamic floating film transfer method (FTM). Although in the proposed conventional dynamic FTM a cm-scale oriented film could be easily obtained, the unique circular orientation hinders the precise analysis for the effect of casting condition on the orientation characteristics. To circumvent this problem we propose a new technique as named ribbon-shaped FTM by providing directionality during dynamic FTM by using our custom made slider. In this study two types of CPs, namely non-regiocontrolled poly(3-hexylthiophene) (NR-P3HT) and poly(dodecyl-quaterthiophene) (PQT), have been utilized for the in-depth orientation analysis in ribbon-shaped FTM. Optimization of film casting conditions such as viscosity, temperature and solution concentration were amicably carried out in this ribbon-shaped FTM. Influence of these casting conditions on the nature of ribbon-shaped FTM in terms of extent of macroscopic film formation, variation on the optical anisotropy and film thickness were quantitatively estimated. As compared NR-P3HT, PQT rather exhibits much improved optical anisotropy. Detailed analysis of orientation characteristics obtained from the ribbon-shaped FTM films will be discussed in this presentation.

3:15pm - 3:30pm

Substituent Dependent AIEE/ACQ Behavior of Pyrimido[1,6-a]Quinolines


School of Chemistry, Madurai Kamaraj University, India

Cu(I)-Y zeolite catalysed regio- and stereoselective five component one-pot reaction of sulfonyl azide, alkyne and quinoline yielded a wide range of pyrimido[1,6-a]quinolines via an unique [2+2+2] cyclotrimerization cascade.[1] The presence of a planar framework and four pendant aryl substituents in pyrimido[1,6-a]quinolines (a potential small molecule AIEgen), prompted a study of their absorbance and emission spectra in solvents of varying polarity to look for any AIEE/ACQ behavior.[2] In all the cases, maximum fluorescence emission (Fmax) occurs at 600 nm, which is found to depend significantly on the nature of substituents and solvent polarity. In a majority of pyrimido[1,6-a]quinolines, an increase in emission intensity is observed along with a negligible shift in λmax indicating an AIEE behavior. Interestingly, in another pyrimido[1,6-a]quinoline, containing 4-methyl substituents in all the pendant aryl rings, along with AIEE a blue shift is observed and molecular models indicate only limited J-aggregation and the aggregation is not extended further between J-aggregates. In a third set of compounds (possessing methoxy substituents/ cyclohexyl rings), an increase in solvent polarity has resulted in emission quenching (ACQ).

Thus the present study on emission behavior of the various pyrimido[1,6-a]quinolones, (through their ability to exhibit AIEE/ AIEE with blue shift/ ACQ behavior, by minor variations in structure and reaction conditions) clearly establish their potential utility for materials applications. Studies also show that the emission spectra of these compounds are very sensitive to variations in pH, solvent polarity, substituent effects and concentration (in dilute solutions they undergo an unique photochemical 1,3-sigmatropic shift, which is absent in high concentrations and in solid state) and this clearly undermine their potential utility as sensor probes and related materials applications.


[1] Pitchumani, et al., J. Org. Chem., 2015, 80, 10299.

[2] Tang, et al., Chem. Rev., 2015, 115, 11718.

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