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EPSRC Reference: EP/C528638/1
Title: Pilot Studies of High-Risk, High-Gain Research Ideas
Principal Investigator: Harris, Professor KDM
Other Investigators:
Cavell, Professor K J Hutchings, Professor G McKeown, Professor N
Murphy, Professor DM Dervisi, Dr A Coogan, Dr M
Willock, Professor D Fallis, Dr I
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 17 October 2005 Ends: 16 October 2007 Value (£): 60,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Structure
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Project 1: Given that the oil reserves on Earth will one day run out, scientists are looking towards alternative fuels to replace our dependence on oil, and there is currently much interest in the development of hydrogen-based fuel systems. However, one of the major obstacles to the development of the use of hydrogen for motor fuel is the lack of a safe method of storing hydrogen onboard a vehicle. We propose to make a new type of material based on polymers which we believe will be able to store large quantities of hydrogen safely, both because these materials have large spaces to accommodate hydrogen molecules and because of the ability of these materials to interact strongly with hydrogen molecules.Project 2: Many important molecules are chiral, which means that they exist in two different forms - a right-handed form and a left-handed form. Very often, a sample of such molecules is a mixture (a racemic mixture) comprising equal amount of the right-handed and left-handed forms. For many applications of such molecules, it is important to be able to separate a racemic mixture of this type into separate samples comprising only right-handed molecules and only left-handed molecules. The proposed research will explore a new idea for carrying out such separations, by carrying out crystallization experiments from racemic mixtures in solution under irradiation by a form of radiation (circularly polarized radiation) that itself exists in either a right-handed or left-handed form.Project 3: The chemical reactivity and properties of molecules often depend critically on their shape or structure. For example, molecular shapes govern everything from colour, odour and taste to whether a substance is a solid, liquid or gas. Scientists use different tools to study these shapes, and thereby explore how one molecule will react with another depending on its shape. Quite often this is very hard to achieve, particularly when the molecules are in solution and when their interactions with other molecules are very weak. In this project, we will develop a new tool that allows us to generate a 3dimensional visualisation of molecules in solution, revealing the very small changes in structure that occur when chiral molecules weakly interact with each other.Project 4: Up until now, the design of N-heterocyclic carbenes as ligands in catalysis has principally concentrated on the manipulation of R-groups attached to the heterocyclic ring - an unimaginative approach to a complex problem. The idea here is a step-out in concept. The intention is to build expanded ring systems in which ring buckling and interactions between substituents on the ring control structure and reactivity, and hence provide unique opportunities for catalyst design.Project 5: Alcohols are used as key chemical intermediates in industrial processes, yet they are currently produced using complex multi-step processes that require high temperature and high pressure. We propose a new one-step, low-temperature process in which oxygen is inserted into an alkane molecule, representing a novel and conceptually simplified procedure for making alcohols.
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Organisation Website: http://www.cf.ac.uk