Chemistry and devices
The phenomenon of rising steam pushing up a pot lid was known for some time before the Industrial Revolution. The invention of the Watt steam engine used the relationship between vapor density and pressure with respect to temperature and chemical phenomena as a practically useful device, thus exploiting this phenomenon as a power source to bring about the Industrial Revolution. In other words, it is necessary to design materials and systems to create devices for solving various problems by using chemistry as a tool.
Role of chemical system engineering
Let us consider hydrogen energy as an example. Hydrogen explodes when mixed with oxygen. Fuel cells generate electric power by reacting hydrogen and oxygen. This reaction has been well-known since the 19th century. However, until the middle of the 20th century, no devices based on this phenomenon were put to practical use.
A hydrogen fuel cell is a clean power source that can generate electricity by reacting hydrogen and oxygen, and the only byproduct is water vapor. In recent years, materials such as ion-conductive membranes and catalysts in fuel cells have been developed, and it is now possible for vehicles to run on public roads (MIRAI: Toyota Motor Corporation). However, if you choose hydrogen as a fuel, it is also important to know how to install hydrogen in a car, and how to manufacture hydrogen in the first place. In addition to developing fuel cells themselves, we have been developing materials for hydrogen storage, hydrogen separation membranes, photocatalysts, etc. in our department. Furthermore, when producing hydrogen, engine efficiency is important, and evaluating the entire system is indispensable. Even with only hydrogen energy, it is necessary to newly develop various kinds of materials based on chemistry and creatively systematize them.
As mentioned above, by learning “Chemical System Engineering”, it is possible to create and design materials, devices, and systems based on chemistry.
The future that chemical system engineering opens
We are working on the following themes in the laboratory:
- Elucidation of Crystallization Mechanism of FAU-type Zeolite by in situ HEXTS Method (Okubo-Wakihara Lab.)
- Ultrafast dealumination of *BEA zeolite (Okubo-Wakihara Lab.)
- Observation of crystal growth on the surface of silicalite-1 singlecrystal (Okubo-Wakihara Lab.)
- Improvement of Hydrothermal Stability of High-Silica Zeolite by HotWater Treatment (Okubo-Wakihara Lab.)
- Ultrafast Continuous Flow Synthesis of AFX Zeolite (Okubo-Wakihara Lab.)