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Warning: Single Lane Tunnel Ahead

A new theory shows that reactivity at catalytic sites inside narrow pores is controlled by how molecules move at the pore openings. Like cars approaching a single lane tunnel from which other cars are emerging, the movement of molecules depends on their distance into the pore; near the ends of the pores, exchange is rapid compared to further into the pores. Dynamics at the openings of these pores controls the penetration of reactants and thus overall conversion to products. Overall, the behavior of catalytic reactions in narrow pores is controlled by a delicate interplay between fluctuations at pore openings, restricted diffusion, and reaction. Until now it has been impossible to reconcile analytical theories with the findings of detailed step-by-step simulations. The new theory enables calculations of reactant and product distributions in minutes compared to the hours or days it takes to do the detailed simulations and yields comparable results. Thus, this new theory is a powerful tool for analyzing the catalytic behavior in these systems.

Highlight Date: 
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Article Title: 

Generalized Hydrodynamic Treatment of the Interplay between Restricted Transport and Catalytic Reaction in Nanoporous Materials

David M. Ackerman, Jing Wang, and James W. Evans
Article Link: 
Journal Name: 
Physical Review Letters
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