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Layered Double Hydroxides and the Origins of Life on Earth

Description: A brief introduction to the current state of research in the Origins of Life field is given in Part I of this work. Part II covers original research performed by the author and co-workers. Layered Double Hydroxide (LDH) systems are anion-exchanging clays that have the general formula M(II)xM(III)(OH)(2x+2)Y, where M(II) and M(III) are any divalent and trivalent metals, respectively. Y can be nearly any anion, although modern naturally occuring LDH systems incorporate carbonate (CO32-), chloride (Cl-), or sulfate (SO42-) anions. Intercalated cobalticyanide anion shows a small yet observable deviation from local Oh symmetry causing small differences between its oriented and non-oriented infrared spectra. Nitroprusside is shown to intercalate into 2:1 Mg:Al LDH with decomposition to form intercalated ferrocyanide and nitrosyl groups of an unidentified nature. The [Ru(CN)6]4- anion is shown to intercalate into layered double hydroxides in the same manner as other hexacyano anions, such as ferrocyanide and cobalticyanide, with its three-fold rotational axis perpendicular to the hydroxide sheets. The square-planar tetracyano-nickelate(II), -palladate(II), and platinate(II) anions were intercalated into both 2:1 and 3:1 Mg:Al layered double hydroxides (LDH). The basal spacings in the 2:1 hosts are approximately 11 Å, indicating that the anions are inclined approximately 75 degrees relative to the hydroxide layers, while in the 3:1 hosts the square-planar anions have enough space to lie more nearly parallel to the LDH cation layers, giving basal spacings of approximately 8 Å. It has been found that the LDH Mg2Al(OH)6Cl catalyzes the self-addition of cyanide, to give in a one-pot reaction at low concentrations an increased yield of diaminomaleonitrile and in addition, at higher ($0.1M) concentrations, a purple-pink material that adheres to the LDH. We are investigating whether this reaction also occurs with hydrotalcite itself, what is the minimum effective concentration of cyanide, and what can be learned about the products ...
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Date: May 2001
Creator: Brister, Brian
Partner: UNT Libraries