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Cardiff Researchers awarded for role in creation of Porous Materials Group

16 June 2021

3D-printed model of a MOF
3D-printed model of a MOF

Researchers from Cardiff’s School of Chemistry have been jointly awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 2021 ‘Inspirational Committee Award’ for their role in forming the Porous Materials Group (PMG), uniting scientists working in porous materials, linking academia and industry.

Chemistry is often most productive when scientists collaborate and work together to form communities with a common goal, and a case in point is porous materials.

As the name suggests these are materials that have open internal structures on a molecular scale, making them able to soak up molecules by adsorption into the pore structure.

Porosity means that materials can have incredibly high surface internal areas, measured in 1000s m2 per gram. This means that just 3g of the highest area materials can have a higher surface area than the pitches at Wembley and the Millennium Stadium combined!

Porous materials contribute hugely to society, and are used in many different ways, such as ion exchange, purification, catalysis, and moisture removal, to name but a few.

You might not realise, but when you buy new trainers they are fresh because a porous material has soaked up all the moisture present in the air within the box. Similarly, when you wash your clothes, the water softener contains an ion exchange porous material to adsorb ions in the water that could form deposits on the machine and your clothes.

New and exciting discoveries are taking place in this field, looking at the wider use of these fascinating materials. For example, thinking of ways to slow ripening in fruit, and medical dressings containing porous materials that accelerate wound healing by releasing medicinal compounds slowly into the wound to keep it clean and speed up recovery!

Dr Timothy Easun, Royal Society University Research Fellow based here at Cardiff’s School of Chemistry, has said,

“We are delighted to be involved in uniting scientists in this field, and receive this recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry 2021 Inspirational Committee Award for the creation and development of the Porous Materials Group (PMG)

PMG’s aim is to bring together scientists across all career stages working in porous materials and to foster links between academia and industry.

It will provide more opportunities for members to meet, network, and develop their careers in porous materials science.

It all began in 2018 with a conference in Southampton, where Cardiff’s Dr Timothy Easun was invited to join the team and host the 2019 UK Porous Materials Conference.

The conference was a very successful meeting here in Cardiff and took place alongside being awarded official RSC Interest Group status; Dr Easun has remained on the committee ever since.

The group now has over 300 academic and industrial members worldwide and has been running the excellent RSC Porous Materials Webinar Series since 2020, attracting 25 speakers from around the world and more than 2500 attendees from 40 different countries.

PMG are co-organising the international Federation of European Zeolitic Associations (FEZA) virtual conference from 5-9th July.

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