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Iranian researchers discovered new self-repair properties in manganese nano oxides during a study on the stability of these materials in media containing oxidants.
Manganese oxides were used to be known as instable materials in oxidative environments. Manganese nano oxides can be used as catalyst in water oxidation reaction to produce hydrogen as green fuel. The self-repair properties of these particles decrease the cost of the production of green fuel.
Dr. Mohammad Mehdi Najafpour, a member of the Scientific Board of Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences, elaborated on the research. "In order to obtain a catalyst with self-repair properties, we chose a type of manganese oxide that has a very reasonable price and is synthesized very easily. These materials lose their active sites after a while. In other words, they are damaged. By precisely studying the separated sites, we realized that the separated sites rejoin the surface of the catalyst through a self-repair process. I can say, the catalyst is repaired."
The catalyst with the ability to oxidize water used in this research is able to repair a part of its structure in case it is damaged. The both characteristics, that is water oxidization and self-repair, can be observed when the particles are at nanometirc scales. Otherwise, the both characteristics do not happen at the same time or take place too slowly.
The mechanism proposed by this research team suggests that manganese ions leave the surface of the oxides and enter into the solution. They turn into permanganate due to the presence of oxidants. Then, the ions react with manganese oxide once again after the consumption of oxidants, and they turn into manganese oxide again.
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