Our research group focuses on the development of porous materials and their utilization. Whether catalyst carriers, insulating materials or filter elements, the research of the group is looking for new and interesting materials with direct application relevance.

Collage der Forschung aus dem AK Enke.
Collage der Forschung aus dem AK Enke. [Foto: Felix Meyerhöfer / Universität Leipzig]

Our Research Projects

Relationships between texture and transport properties

The Enke research group has been concerned with the production - chemical synthesis and shaping - of (nano) porous inorganic materials, mainly on an oxidic, but also non-oxidic basis. Classic methods such as nitrogen and argon low-temperature sorption and mercury intrusion are used to investigate the textural material properties (specific pore volume, specific surface, pore sizes, pore size distribution). With the help of permeability studies, material transport properties in the porous system are characterized and correlated with the textural data.

Furthermore, these porous materials can be investigated in catalytic test reactions. For this purpose, it is advantageous to know the chemical properties of the material surface. Therefore Methods such as inverse gas chromatography and chemisorption are used.

The detection of open and closed pores is being advanced through cooperation with other research institutes. Less known systems such as positron lifetime spectroscopy and 3D micro-computed tomography can be used as tools to clarify texture and mass transport phenomena.

Sensors, host materials, thermal insulation, energy storage, catalyst supports for environmental catalysis

Beyond basic research, technical applications in particular are being developed for the synthesised materials. Special requirements of some sensor applications correlate with the possibilities of modifying the monolithic solids developed in the Enke group. The possibility of tailoring the properties of the materials to specific applications is a core competence of the group.

Special material systems and adapted post-treatment steps enable large-format thermal insulation materials, innovative catalysts and energy storage media. Great efforts are being made in the areas of environmental and consumer protection. Likewise, work is being done on the issues of meeting future energy needs.

Hierarchically structured porous materials

In order to solve challenges in the field of mass transfer limitation, fundamental research work on the integration of hierarchical structures is being carried out on a wide variety of material systems. Such material systems are based on SiO2, Al2O3, TiO2, V2O5, CeO2, ZrO2 and their combinations. The hierarchy can be introduced here in "one-pot" syntheses (via the sol-gel process) as well as subsequently through targeted shaping processes. In this way, hierarchically structured, porous monoliths with variable shapes can be produced. Their transfer into effective processes in the fields of sensor technology and catalysis represents a large field of work. This begins with the development of model systems on the material preparation side and is continued by their transfer into test reactions on a laboratory scale. The mutual feedbacks make it possible to optimise the hierarchical structures for different material systems. These works serve as a basis for the identification of interactions in complex chemical reactions, the transfer of which to large-scale applications can lead to economic and ecological advantages.

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