B-MRS Newsletter. Year 6, issue 2.


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Newsletter of the
Brazilian Materials
Research Society

Year 6, issue 2. March 7, 2019.

Featured Paper

A team of Brazilian researchers has developed a simple, clean and very efficient method to produce hydrogen. These scientists used thin films of graphene and metal nanoparticles as catalysts for a spontaneous chemical reaction that occurs between borohydride and water. The work was reported in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A. Know more.


Featured Scientist

We interviewed Juliana Davoglio Estradioto. This 18-year-old girl holds a collection of national and international awards received for research work carried out during high school, in which she developed biodegradable materials from agro-industrial waste and created applications for them. See our interview.

juliana news

News from B-MRS Members

– Professor Sidney J. L. Ribeiro (IQ-UNESP – Campus de Araraquara), member of B-MRS, was appointed associate editor of the journal Frontiers in Chemistry – Inorganic Chemistry. Know more.

B-MRS News

– The University Chapters Program commemorates the establishment of its 9th unit, formed by a group of 15 students from different areas of the Brazilian Federal University of Pernambuco. Know more.

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XVIII B-MRS Meeting (Balneário Camboriú, SC, Brazil, September 22 – 26, 2019)

Website: www.sbpmat.org.br/18encontro/

See invitation to abstract subsmission, here.

Abstract submission. The submission of abstracts is open until April 15. Approval, modification, or rejection notifications will be sent by May 31. Final notices for abstracts needing modification will be sent by June 21. See instructions for authors, here.

Symposia. 23 symposia proposed by the international scientific community compose this edition of the event. See the symposia list, here.

Student awards. To participate in the Bernhard Gross Award, authors must submit an extended abstract by July 11 in addition to the conventional abstract. Learn more, here.

Registrations. Registration is now open. More information, here.

Venue. The meeting will be held in the delightful Balneário Camboriú (State of Santa Catarina, Brazil), at the Hotel Sibara Flat & Conventions, located in the center of the city, close to many hotels, restaurants and shops, and only 100 meters from the sea. More information, here.

Memorial lecture. The traditional Memorial Lecture Joaquim da Costa Ribeiro will be given by Professor Yvonne Primerano Mascarenhas (IFSC – USP).

Plenary lectures. Leading scientists from institutions in Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States will deliver plenary talks on cutting-edge issues at the event. There will also be a plenary session by the Brazilian scientist Antônio José Roque da Silva, director of CNPEM and the Sirius project (new Synchrotron Light Lab). Learn more about the plenary sessions, here.

Organization. The chair of the event is Professor Ivan Helmuth Bechtold (Physics Department of UFSC) and the co-chair is Professor Hugo Gallardo (Department of Chemistry of UFSC). The program committee is formed by professors Iêda dos Santos (UFPB), José Antônio Eiras (UFSCar), Marta Rosso Dotto (UFSC) and Mônica Cotta (Unicamp). Get to know all the organizers, here.

Exhibitors and sponsors. 29 companies have already confirmed their participation in the event. Those interested in sponsoring/support can contact Alexandre at the e-mail comercial@sbpmat.org.br.

Reading Tips

– By encapsulating graphene in boron nitride, scientists are able to print patterns with nanolithography, opening up possibilities to use the material in nanoelectronics (paper from Nature Nanotechnology). Know more.

– Scientists improve activity of aluminum nanocatalysts by coating them with MOFs using a strategy inspired by the natural process of wood petrification (paper by Science Advances). Know more.

– Quantum materials: Scientists confirm experimentally that topological material of atomic thickness conducts electricity at the edges, opening possibility of its use in quantum computers (paper of Science Advances). Know more.


– WIN Rising Star Award in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology nominations. Know more.

– Doctoral fellowship in ultra-sensitive bioelectronic transducers in Portugal. Know more.

– Invitation to organize the official International Sol-Gel Society Conference in 2021. Know more.


International Workshop on Advanced Magnetic Oxides (IWAMO 2019). Aveiro (Portugal). April 15 – 17, 2019. Site.

2019 E-MRS Spring Meeting e IUMRS – ICAM. Nice (France). May 27 – 31, 2019. Site.

20th International Symposium on Intercalation Compounds (ISIC). Campinas, SP (Brazil). June 2 – 6, 2019. Site.

10th International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies (ICMAT 2019). Singapore. June 23 – 28, 2019. Site.

20th International Sol-Gel Conference. Saint Petersburg (Russia). August 25 – 30, 2019. Site.

YUCOMAT 2019 & WRTCS 2019. Herceg Novi (Montenegro). September 2 – 6, 2019. Site.

XVIII B-MRS Meeting. Balneário Camboriú, SC (Brazil). September 22 – 26, 2019. Site.

19th Brazilian Workshop on Semiconductor Physics. Fortaleza, CE (Brazil). November 18 – 22, 2019. Site.

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You can suggest news, opportunities, events or reading tips in the materials field to be covered by B-MRS Newsletter. Write to comunicacao@sbpmat.org.br.



Featured paper: Graphene and nickel films, the best catalysts for hydrogen production.

[Paper: Nanocatalysts for hydrogen production from borohydride hydrolysis: graphene-derived thin films with Ag- and Ni-based nanoparticles. Leandro Hostert, Eduardo G. C. Neiva, Aldo J. G. Zarbin, Elisa S. Orth. J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018,6, 22226-22233. DOI 10.1039/C8TA05834B]

Graphene and nickel films, the best catalysts for hydrogen production

Thousands of vehicles powered by hydrogen gas already circulate in some regions of the world releasing only water through the exhaust pipes. As a fuel or source of energy, hydrogen is in fact an extremely clean (does not generate harmful emissions) and efficient option (it can produce more energy than any other fuel). However, pure hydrogen does not exist in nature on Earth. It needs to be produced, and most of the hydrogen-generating methods known to date have both economic and ecological drawbacks.

An alternative to these methods was recently presented by a team of researchers from the graduate program in Chemistry of the Brazilian Federal University of Paraná (UFPR). These scientists have proposed a clean, efficient, simple and inexpensive method to produce hydrogen. The team developed new catalysts (compounds that modify the speed of a chemical reaction without being consumed during the reaction), made of graphene and metal nanoparticles, which made hydrogen production feasible through the hydrolysis of borohydride – a chemical reaction still little used in hydrogen generation, notwithstanding its enormous potential as it is clean and very simple.

Photographs and representative schematics of H2 generation by hydrolysis of borohydride catalyzed with graphene and metallic nanoparticles thin films. The films, about 500 nm thick, cover the two sides of a glass plate, covering 15 cm2, which is immersed in a solution of sodium borohydride and water. The photos depict the bubbles of hydrogen gas generated on the surface of the catalyst.
Photographs and representative schematics of H2 generation by hydrolysis of borohydride catalyzed with graphene and metallic nanoparticles thin films. The films, about 500 nm thick, cover the two sides of a glass plate, covering 15 cm2, which is immersed in a solution of sodium borohydride and water. The photos depict the bubbles of hydrogen gas generated on the surface of the catalyst.

In this reaction, which is performed at room temperature, sodium borohydride (NaBH4) molecules, spontaneously react with water molecules generating hydrogen (H2) molecules. The process takes place in only one step, and is performed with catalyst materials, which accelerate the reaction rate.

“The main contribution of this work is the possibility of H2 generation through thin films of graphene nanocomposites,” says Professor Elisa Souza Orth, corresponding author of an article on the work, recently published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A (impact factor = 9,931). “Nanocomposites of carbon-based materials and metallic nanoparticles have shown many promising applications and we have shown that for the less exploited borohydride hydrolysis they could also be used efficiently,” she adds.

Among the thin film catalysts produced by the UFPR team, the ones that presented better performance were those of reduced graphene oxide with nickel nanoparticles (rGO/Ni). In fact, this nanocomposite, produced with a relatively inexpensive metal, performed better than most of the catalysts previously reported in the scientific literature, including those prepared with noble metals, which cost much more.

In general, this means that small amounts of rGO/Ni (some tens of mg) generated large volumes of hydrogen (400 ml) in a short time (5 hours).

In addition, the films developed by the Brazilian team presented another important characteristic for a catalyst: they can be easily removed from the reaction vessel, washed and dried without damage, thus allowing their reuse. “In this work, we were able to reuse the same nanocatalyst in 10 consecutive cycles, without losing activity,” says Professor Orth.

The doctoral student Leandro Hostert in the laboratory of the postgraduate program of chemistry of UFPR.
The doctoral student Leandro Hostert in a laboratory of the postgraduate program in chemistry of UFPR.

These results were made possible by combining competencies in the production of carbon nanomaterials from the Materials Chemistry Group, coordinated by Professor Aldo José Gorgatti Zarbin, with expertise in catalysis processes of the Catalysis and Kinetics Group, led by Professor Orth. These two UFPR groups have a history of collaboration in the application of carbon materials; initially, in the study of pesticides and, currently, in the development of multifunctional materials with extraordinary catalytic activity.

In addition to the development of catalysts and their application in hydrogen production, the work published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A included an analysis of the various ways of measuring the catalytic activity of a material. The authors were able to standardize criteria and compare several results obtained in the laboratory and found in the scientific literature. “We have developed a kinetic study that complements the discussion of these complex reactions and can help guide us to a more concise understanding of catalytic activity,” explains Elisa Orth.

The research was carried out under the doctoral program in progress of Leandro Hostert, guided by Professor Orth, and was funded by Brazilian agencies CNPq, CAPES, Araucária Foundation, INCT Nanocarbono, as well as L’Oréal-UNESCO-ABC through the Award for Women in Science (2015 ) and International Rising Talents (2016) received by Elisa Orth.