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Research Highlight – Unique Interface and Unexpected Behavior Help Explain How Heavy Metals Act

From The US Department of Energy’s Office of Science:

“Refining platinum, plutonium, or certain other metals often depends on how the metal behaves at liquid interfaces. The challenge? Scientists have limited ways to analyze the details of liquid interfaces. Now, researchers [at Washington State University and Argonne National Laboratories] described in significant detail how water molecules surround a platinum-based ion. Their description includes an unexpectedly complex structure that forms on the liquid’s surface. The team noticed no less than three different forms of water wrapping around the ion. The complex water structure is unexpected and it creates unusual behaviors compared to those observed around smaller and lighter ions under similar conditions.

Refining platinum and other precious metals involves moving the desired metal from one liquid to another. But little is known about how that transfer works on the molecular scale. This work helps explain how platinum and other heavy metals move and react across liquids.”

For the full story and publication, please visit the US DOE Website

Research Highlight – Riding the Wave of Liquid:Liquid Interfaces

From: Department of Energy Science News – Link to Article

Crests of watery waves breaking in oil may be the gatekeepers to transport vital chemicals in industrial separation process.



Credit: American Chemical Society (copyright 2017)


How molecules move and organize in water when the liquid meets the oil depends on whether or not the chemical is on the crest or trough of a tiny wave of water at the interface.

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Research Highlight – Research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries

A Washington State University research team has improved an important catalytic reaction commonly used in the oil and gas industries that could lead to dramatic energy savings and reduced pollution.
They report on their work in the German journal Angewandte Chemie (, which has designated the paper of particular interest and importance. The research is led by Jean-Sabin McEwen, assistant professor, and Su Ha, associate professor, of the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at WSU.

For the full story, please visit WSU News