Fibre, boards and wine
Until now the last stage of this story has led me to take part in a project where eco materials are combined with food industry. Once again I came across cellulose fibre; however, this time lignin is a friendly compound. While for ingredients lignin is undesired because of the brownish colour, in fibreboards it is an essential component given its hydrophobic and adhesive properties. It is reasonable to wonder what the relation between boars and wines is. This relationship is established in barrels where wine is stored. Here a process occurs where chemicals from wood are dissolved in the liquid. Among these substances it is possible to find polyphenols which are the building blocks of lignin. Not only have this chemicals an important role in the aroma of the wine but they are also preservatives due to their antioxidant activity.
Seaweeds, carrageen, pectin and fibre
The next step was in the food industry. In this occasion I was aware of the potential which natural extracts have as well as the power of the texture. This was a radical change from fine chemistry to the chemistry of natural products, where it is necessary to deal with polymers in addition to complex mixtures. Additionally, it was really interesting to learn about rheology and all of the applications of this field of expertise. This experience was also my first contact with cellulose fibre, one of the most abundant polymers in our nature with myriads of applications.
Stay in Bristol
Iron is an abundant and accessible metal. It is very interesting to find chemical reactions where iron metallic complexes behave as a catalyst. By this way it is possible to carry out green reactions which could represent an inexpensive alternative. During my stay in Bristol University I have been part of an iron catalysis research project which was developed byĀ Robin Bedfordās group. This experience has been a great opportunity to learn about chemistry and work with people from different countries.
Preparation and structural study of Pd(II) compounds. Catalytic applications.
A study about new cyclometallated palladium compounds. Cyclometallated compounds are considered organometallic compounds because of the presence of carbon-metal bond in its structure. This type of bond, which is relatively unusual, confers to these compounds different chemical properties.
In this work the design of new compounds of this type with palladium bonded to different molecules which should improveĀ a priori palladium catalytic activity was studied.
These catalytic properties were tested in cross-coupling carbon-carbon reactions. It is know that palladium compounds catalyse this kind of processes. These synthetic routes are very interesting to modern chemistry due to the fact that they allow obtaining different pharmacological, industrial and agriculture products. Optimising these catalysts, which are essential for these reactions, reduces considerably the costs. Additionally, a suitable catalyst enables to perform chemical reactions with time saving and less temperature. Ā Ā From an environmental point of view, catalysts reduce energetic requirements. Besides, it is possible to substitute some toxic, expensive and harmful solvents like benzene for other less problematical. Not only is it possible to use inexpensive organic solvents but even water. Finally, it is important to mention that some reactions are energetically impossible without the addition of a catalyst.