Cleaning the Air, Even of Weapons
Metal-organic frameworks as media for the catalytic degradation of chemical warfare agents
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Environmental conservation and weapon disarmament may seem to have no relevancy. However, Professor Kim Ki-hyun of Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, in his long battle against environmental degradation, has found a common ground on which both fields could find a way to advance towards their goals. His recent research paper, “Metal-organic frameworks as media for the catalytic degradation of chemical warfare agents” introduces the utilization of metal-organic frameworks (MOF), previously used to filter pollutants in the air, to purify the air of toxins emitted from chemical weapons.
Kim has already published a number of paper regarding the utilization of metal-organic framework.
The key technology behind this research is the MOF. It is essentially a collection of multi dimensional sockets created when linking metals through the means of organic compounds. These nano-scaled sockets act as traps that capture undesired materials in the air. Kim explained that a crucial field of focus in creating MOFs is to use the smallest amount of substance possible to create the largest number of sockets. In practice, there are several options through which it could be put to use, one such option is the absorption mechanism, which is collecting as much pollutants as possible and disposing them. Another option is the catalytic treatment, which collects harmful substances and releases them in a safe form.
Kim explained that there are two types of research. One involves numerous experiements and analysis, attempting to create or discover something new, and another tests out theories of other researchers and expands existing studies in depth. He explained that this research fell into the latter category, also known as a review research. “In a large frame, it’s part of a global effort to disarm weapons of warfare. This specific research began on the basis of environmental development technology, which expanded to include harmful materials from chemical weapons.” Kim added that the research came to being when several substances included in environmental pollutants were discovered to overlap from those of chemical weapons. Of the hundreds of existing research on environmental development and disarmament of chemical weapons, he took the revelant ones and “reviewed” them on the basis of his research.
Kim explained that working to save the environment had been his calling since before becoming a professor.
In the big picture, Kim explained that this study is just one of the many existing illustrations of how MOFs could be adapted and utilized. In the process of attempting to make the air free of pollution, a calling that Kim has had for over 30 years, the MOF was a crucial discovery that supported many of his researches. At the most initial stage, the MOF was designed to capture and reduce CO2 emission in the atmosphere. Now it is used in a number of fields, used for transporting medical substances, handling radioactive materials, and of course, to purify the air of certain substances. It is also applied in the actual market, with Kim having worked with industries of automobiles, electric cigarettes, and farms to eliminate undesired scent in their products and facilities. This research was part of a review to assess the potential scale of MOF utilization.
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