Nanomaterials, Catalysis, Electrochemistry (NCE)
The NCE laboratory is active in the development of nanostructured materials for various applications such as catalysis, electrochemistry and functionalized coatings. The specificity of NCE's research lies in their transversality, through which materials science and chemical engineering are approached in an integrated way.
Synthesis of nanostructured materials
Since the morphology of a material at nanoscale is critical for its performances, research studies aim at developing methods for the controlled synthesis of nanostructures dispersed, or not, within porous matrices.
The methods developed mainly concern wet syntheses among which, the Sol-Gel process.
Many inorganic, inorganic-organic hybrid and carbon-based materials are synthesized for specific applications, in particular in the fields of catalysis and electrochemistry.
Catalysts for specific applications
The use of Sol-Gel process for the preparation of supported catalysts allows, unlike usual routes for the preparation of these materials, to gather in one single step the formation of the support and the introduction of the active sites. In several heterogeneous catalysis or photocatalysis applications, the materials obtained have remarkable performances in terms of activity, selectivity, stability and diffusion of reactants and products.
Numerous materials, with various shapes, have been developed for their use in processes of industrial and/or environmental interest: hydrogenation, hydrodechlorination, (photo)-oxidation for the degradation of pollutants and microorganisms or for the synthesis of organic compounds, synthesis of carbon nanotubes, biogas purification, ...
Shaping and scaling-up
Beyond design and synthesis of nanostructured materials, shaping processes are developed and optimized. Thus, the materials produced are used in the form of powders, films, beads, monoliths, etc.
An important aspect of the research is to demonstrate the feasibility for scaling-up of both synthesis methods and shaping processes at an industrial scale. Studies are therefore devoted to their development at an intermediate pilot scale, between the laboratory and the industrial scales.
Examples include the production of microbeads from powders through the microencapsulation process developed by BRACE GmbH, the deposition of photoactive nanometric films by roll-coating for steel industry and in commercial devices for water purification, the production of electrodes by spray-coating, ...