Latest Issue of Science News


Crystal could generate pure hydrogen fuel

The bizarre behavior of an organic crystal called calixarene could help drive a hydrogen economy, suggests a new study.

Researchers describe a crystal that, when exposed to air, absorbs molecules such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, oxygen, and nitrogen. The crystal consists of two calixarene molecules joined together, resembling a pair of cups attached at a their open ends to leave a cavity inside.

Chemist Jerry Atwood of the University of Missouri-Columbia and his colleagues discovered calixarene's behavior after adding a drop of nitrobenzene to a layer of crystal material on a glass slide. Suddenly, the crystal began to bubble vigorously, says Atwood, indicating that molecules of nitrobenzene somehow had migrated into the crystal and forced out gas molecules.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.