中子技术 轮廓法 数值模拟

【深度科普(3/8)】中子散射技术的应用—制造产业

发布时间:2017-03-31

    

    人们日常生活所需的各类产品,小到肥皂、化妆品,大到汽车、飞机等,每天加工处理的材料可达千百万吨。中子散射实验每次带来的关于分子尺度的一点新发现,都极有可能推动工业产品在生产效率、质量和价格等方面产生巨大变革。中子散射技术提供的研究成果,不仅是大部分工业化学产品能够大规模节能生产所必需的基础知识,也为例如航空航天业生产精密零件提供了依据,并帮助制药行业高效安全的处理废弃物。

    Millions of tons of materials are processed every day across the planet to manufacture a huge range of products that we need in our daily lives, from soaps, cosmetics through to cars and planes. A small amount of improvement in molecular knowledge from neutron scattering experiments can go a long way in improving the efficiency, quality and price of industrial products. The unique information from neutron scattering experiments can not only form the building blocks of energy efficient mass production for key industrial chemicals, but also contribute to confirming the best conditions for making precision components for the aerospace and automotive industries, and help the pharmaceutical industry to deal with chemical waste efficiently and safely.


01
分子改造

Molecular

makeover

 


    欧洲最大的PVC生产商其中之一的工厂每年都会合成超过100,000吨氯甲烷,用于生产日常用品。甲醇和氯化氢在加速催化剂的作用下产生氯甲烷。然而,生产商发现这个过程中产生了副产品,这就导致了能源浪费并且增加了回收甲醇的成本。

    Every year, more than 100,000 tonnes of methyl chloride are synthesized at one of the largest PVC manufacturers in Europe, to make a wide range of everyday materials from plastics to pharmaceuticals. Methyl chloride is made by passing methanol and hydrogen chloride through a catalyst that accelerates the chemical reaction. However, the manufacturer found that a side product is also produced during this process, causing a waste of energy and an increase in the cost of methanol recycle.

 

    格拉斯哥大学和生产商合作,采用中子散射技术对催化剂表面分子间的化学反应进行研究。了解清楚其中的奥秘后,生产商对催化剂表面进行改良,完全消除副产品,避免新建一个废弃物处理池,大大降低了生产成本。工厂里的两个氯甲烷反应器多年来一直在使用这种新的催化剂,正是这种分子改造技术促进了生产的节能和环保。

    In a research collaboration between the University of Glasgow and the manufacturer, neutron scattering technique was used to understand what was happening at molecular scale on the surface of the catalyst. With the new insight achieved, the surface of the catalyst was subsequently modified by the manufacture, which almost completely eliminated the unwanted side product and avoided the need to construct a new waste treatment plant. As a result, the production cost was thus significantly reduced. The new catalyst has now been operating continuously on both of the methyl chloride reactors in the factory for several years. It is such molecular makeover technology that promotes energy-saving and environmentally friendly manufacturing.


02
洞悉分子结构赋予行业竞争优势

Molecular insight gives industry

a competitive edge

 


    林德拉催化剂是商业化生产维他命和其他产品的重要材料之一。此催化剂含有发挥关键作用的金属钯和金属铅:钯将氢气分子分解成化工生产所需的氢原子,而铅则在特定时间点激活催化剂阻止反应的发生。

    The Lindlar catalyst is an important material used in the commercial manufacture of vitamins and a range of other products. It consists of the key metal elements: palladium and lead. The palladium is used to split hydrogen molecules in hydrogen gas into hydrogen atoms that are needed for chemical production, while the lead is used to activate the catalyst at a specific time in order to stop the reaction.


    作为包括林德拉催化剂在内的催化剂生产商之一Evonik化工集团,借助中子散射技术,获知催化剂表面所发生的化学反应,深入理解林德拉催化剂是如何起作用并且是如此有效的。借助于中子实验,我们可以深入了解这个行业的主要生产工艺。

    Evonik Industries, one of the catalyst manufacturers, produces many types of catalyst, including Lindlar. They have successfully used neutron scattering techniques, to reveal what exactly happens on the surface of the catalyst during a chemical reaction. Their understanding of the reaction mechanisms as well as the effectiveness of the Lindlar catalyst has been greatly improved. Neutron diffraction experiments can therefore help unlock the many secrets behind major industrial processes.

“使用新的分析手段(指中子散射技术—译者注)是我们深入了解控制催化剂性能关键参数的极为重要的一步。这将有助于我们从客户利益的角度出发,进一步优化我们的工业催化剂产品。”

—— Konrad Möbus博士,Evonik化工集团


"Applying new analytical methods is one key step to understanding the critical parameters that control the performance of a catalyst. This will help us to improve further our industrial catalysts for the benefit of our customers."

—— Dr. Konrad Möbus, Evonik Industries


03
航空部件的应力释放

Stress relief for

aircraft parts

 


    深入理解飞机零部件加工制造后的应力分布信息,对航空工业有重大参考意义。

    Understanding stress distributions in aircraft parts after manufacturing is particularly important for the aircraft industry.

 

    中子散射技术可用于应力分布云图的测量,以此评估不同制造和加工制造工艺的有效性。中子散射技术以其无损、深度测量的独特优势被航空公司所青睐。飞机制造商空客公司已使用中子散射技术多年,主要用于研究铝合金焊接接头的结构完整性,分析并评估它们是否适用于未来的飞行器。工程师们可以根据研究成果调整相关生产工艺,以较低的成本制造出更轻、更安全的飞机零件。

    Neutron scattering can be used to map internal stresses giving information about the effectiveness of different manufacturing and processing techniques. The technique is well-suited for these studies as it is non-destructive and can look deep inside components. Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has used neutron scattering for many years to research the integrity of welds in aluminium alloys, and to assess their suitability for future aircraft. This enables engineers to adjust the manufacturing process and make lighter and safer aircraft parts at a lower cost.


“对于无论是现有的还是新型的材料制造、加工工艺与技术的研发来说,中子散射残余应力测量技术都具有不可估量的宝贵价值。”

—— Richard Burguete,空客公司实验力学专家


"Residual stress measurements using neutron scattering are invaluable for researching and developing existing and novel material manufacturing and processing techniques."

—— Richard Burguete, experimental mechanics specialist, Airbus


04
制药行业化学废弃物的处理

Tackling chemical waste

in the pharmaceutical industry

 


    制药行业中化学废弃物的处理成本很高,药物成分主要是从某些有机溶剂中提取的。然而有机溶剂的易挥发和易燃性又牵引出安全生产问题。药物成分必须不残留任何微量溶剂,才能确保药物安全。

    The treatment of chemical waste is an expensive problem for the pharmaceutical industry. The vast majority of the processes for making pharmaceutical ingredients are carried out in some form of organic solvent. Hence the high volatility and flammability of the organic solvent makes process safety an issue. Pharmaceutical ingredients also have to be free from all traces of residual solvent to ensure their safe usage.

 

    所幸研究人员通过中子散射技术研发了新手段,使得化学物更容易处理,同时减少废弃物的产生。离子液体是稳定性极高、非易燃的溶剂,因而它不会散发任何危险、易挥发的有机成份,也不会残留在成品中。在此基础之上,英国贝尔法斯特女王大学的Chris Hardacre教授利用离子液体发明的新的药物提取方法。中子散射数据在获取液体分子结构,以及获得正确配方过程中发挥着重大作用。未来,离子液体有可能为制药行业带来翻天覆地的改变。

    Researchers have used neutron scattering technique to develop a new approach that can be used to treat the chemicals more easily and meanwhile to reduce waste. Ionic liquids are highly stable, non-flammable solvents that do not emit dangerous volatile organic components, and do not leave any residuals in the final product either. Professor Chris Hardacre at Queen’s University Belfast developed a new technique using ionic liquids for pharmaceutical applications. Neutron scattering data was essential in obtaining the molecular structure of the liquid and to develop the correct pharmaceutical recipes. In the future, ionic liquids could potentially revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry.

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