Microwaves: it’s about what you’re made of


— Fabio Cameli, KU Leuven I recently read a tweet saying: “The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It`s about what you`re made of not the circumstances”. Actually, microwave technology is essentially based on the same concept: different materials will behave differently under a microwave field resulting in what is called “selective heating”. In fact, it seems ...

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Biorefinery: a glance at the past through present knowledge, for a COSMIC future


— Alessio Zuliani, University of Cordoba One of the most captivating reply to the challenge for substituting fossil sources, is the employment of renewable bioresources through new sustainable processes.1 Truthfully the exploitation of biomass can potentially satisfy a variety of needs, including generating electricity, heating homes, fueling vehicles and provide raw materials. Until the middle of 20th century, many industrial materials ...

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Ultrasound and its Applications


— Ekim Sarac, University of Göttingen Sound is a waveform consisting of density variations in a medium (such as gas, liquid or solids) propagating away from the source. The immediate property of sound is its frequency which is mostly measured in cycles per second, or hertz (Hz). Hertz, equal to the reciprocal of second, is the unit of the frequency. Sound ...

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Catalysts: A Pathway for Sustainable Development


— Prabhat Ranjan, KU Leuven We all have encountered the word “catalysis” during our high school chemistry. Catalyst is a substance which can accelerate the kinetics of a reaction without getting chemically involved in it. Ultimately, first question which arises in our mind is “ How does this happen?” In order to understand the behavior of catalyst,  let me take you ...

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Interdisciplinary Aspects of Continuous Sono-Chemical Pharmaceutical Crystallization

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—Mohammed Noorul Hussain, KU Leuven The pharmaceutical industry that is leading a $1000 Billion worldwide market, is looking forward to a new future with the use of techniques like ultrasound. Ultrasound can potentially increase nucleation rates that will reduce the production time. Also, as the industry is fast moving towards continuous crystallization by replacing the existing cumbersome batch reactors, isn’t it ...

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The Adventure Behind a Secondment!


— Heidy Ramirez, Arkema It has been two months since I moved to Leuven, Belgium for my secondment at KU Leuven. Wait a moment… why am I in Belgium and what is a secondment? Marie Curie projects are characterized by international mobility, intersectoral and multidisciplinary exchange; a secondment is a short period of time in which the ESR is received by ...

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Easier, Faster and with Less Waste: Complex Molecules on Tap


— Vidmantas Bieliūnas, KU Leuven When I first had the opportunity to visit a rather small and shabby chemical plant, I was bewildered by the sheer magnitude of a standard batch reactor. Having only worked with flasks that range from 5 milliliters to 5 liters, the 12000-liter reactors looked both amazing and scary. Then I heard a few stories about failed ...

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A Chemical Crossword


Today we’d like to bring you a chemical crossword created by María Jesús that we hope you find interesting. (In case you decide to write on your computer screen, we suggest using non-permanent markers and public computers) 1. To make or become intense or more intense. 2. The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service ...

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The Strange Discovery of Microwaves


—Roberta Manno, University of Zaragoza “One day a dozen years ago, Percy Spencer was visiting the lab where magnetrons, the power tubes of radar sets, were being tested. Suddenly, he felt a peanut bar had begun to melt in his pocket…” What would you do in this situation? Well Percy Spencer sent a boy out for popcorn’s box. When he ...

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Ultrasound for Nanoparticles Synthesis


 — Luca Panariello, UCL Ultrasound is sound waves with frequencies higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing. It is no different from “normal” audible sound in its physical properties, except that humans cannot hear it. The feasibility of converting sound into chemistry was demonstrated more than 80 years ago, when Lord Rayleigh postulated the existence of cavitation bubbles. Ultrasound ...

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