Publications by authors named "Akshat Tanksale"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Molecular Clustering in Formaldehyde-Methanol-Water Mixtures Revealed by High-Intensity, High-q Small-Angle Neutron Scattering.

J Phys Chem Lett 2021 Jan 29;12(1):480-486. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.

Methanol-Water (mw) mixtures, with or without a solute, display a nonideal thermodynamic behavior, typically attributed to the structure of the microphase. However, experimental observation of the microphase structures at the molecular length scale has been a challenge. We report the presence of molecular clusters in mw and formaldehyde-methanol-water (fmw) mixtures using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Hydrophobic clusters of methanol in mw and formaldehyde-methanol in fmw mixtures were observed at low methanol compositions ( ≤ 0.3). A three-dimensional hydrogen-bonded network of water with the solute is observed at = 0.5. Linear chains of methanol surrounding the formaldehyde and water molecules were observed at high methanol compositions ( ≥ 0.7). The calculated size of the molecular clusters ( ≈ 0.5 nm, spherical) from the SANS data and their volume fraction closely matched the MD simulation results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c03515DOI Listing
January 2021

Atomistic Mechanisms of Thermal Transformation in a Zr-Metal Organic Framework, MIL-140C.

J Phys Chem Lett 2021 Jan 15;12(1):177-184. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, United States.

To understand the mechanisms responsible for thermal decomposition of a Zr-MOF (MIL-140C), we perform atomistic-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and discuss the simulation data in comparison with the TEM images obtained for the decomposed Zr-MOF. First, we introduce the ReaxFF parameters suitable for the Zr/C/H/O chemistry and then apply them to investigate the thermal stability and morphological changes in the MIL-140C during heating. Based on the performed simulations we propose an atomic mechanism for the collapse of the MIL-140C and the molecular pathways for carbon monoxide formation, the main product of the MIL-140C thermal degradation. We also determine that the oxidation state of the ZrO clusters, evolved due to the thermal degradation, approximates the tetragonal phase of ZrO. Both simulations and experiments show a distribution of very small ZrO clusters embedded in the disrupted organic sheet that could contribute to the unusual high catalytic activity of the decomposed MIL-140C.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.0c02930DOI Listing
January 2021

Synthesis and characterization of polylactide/rice husk hydrochar composite.

Sci Rep 2019 04 1;9(1):5445. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, 202002, India.

Polymer composites are fabricated by incorporating fillers into a polymer matrix. The intent for addition of fillers is to improve the physical, mechanical, chemical and rheological properties of the composite. This study reports on a unique polymer composite using hydrochar, synthesised by microwave-assisted hydrothermal carbonization of rice husk, as filler in polylactide matrix. The polylactide/hydrochar composites were fabricated by incorporating hydrochar in polylactide at 5%, 10%, 15% and 20 wt% by melt processing in a Haake rheomix at 170 °C. Both the neat polylactide and polylactide/hydrochar composite were characterized for mechanical, structural, thermal and rheological properties. The tensile modulus of polylactide/hydrochar composites was improved from 2.63 GPa (neat polylactide) to 3.16 GPa, 3.33 GPa, 3.54 GPa, and 4.24 GPa after blending with hydrochar at 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%, respectively. Further, the incorporation of hydrochar had little effect on storage modulus (G') and loss modulus (G″). The findings of this study reported that addition of hydrochar improves some characteristics of polylactide composites suggesting the potential of hydrochar as filler for polymer/hydrochar composites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41960-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6443802PMC
April 2019

Microwave Hydrothermal Carbonization of Rice Straw: Optimization of Process Parameters and Upgrading of Chemical, Fuel, Structural and Thermal Properties.

Materials (Basel) 2019 Jan 28;12(3). Epub 2019 Jan 28.

Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton 3800, Australia.

The process parameters of microwave-induced hydrothermal carbonization (MIHTC) play an important role on the hydrothermal chars (hydrochar) yield. The effect of reaction temperature, reaction time, particle size and biomass to water ratio was optimized for hydrochar yield by modeling using the central composite design (CCD). Further, the rice straw and hydrochar at optimum conditions have been characterized for energy, chemical, structural and thermal properties. The optimum condition for hydrochar synthesis was found to be at a 180 °C reaction temperature, a 20 min reaction time, a 1:15 weight per volume (w/v) biomass to water ratio and a 3 mm particle size, yielding 57.9% of hydrochar. The higher heating value (HHV), carbon content and fixed carbon values increased from 12.3 MJ/kg, 37.19% and 14.37% for rice straw to 17.6 MJ/kg, 48.8% and 35.4% for hydrochar. The porosity, crystallinity and thermal stability of the hydrochar were improved remarkably compared to rice straw after MIHTC. Two characteristic peaks from XRD were observed at 2θ of 15° and 26°, whereas DTG peaks were observed at 50⁻150 °C and 300⁻350 °C for both the materials. Based on the results, it can be suggested that the hydrochar could be potentially used for adsorption, carbon sequestration, energy and agriculture applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ma12030403DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6384547PMC
January 2019

Upgradation of chemical, fuel, thermal, and structural properties of rice husk through microwave-assisted hydrothermal carbonization.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2018 Jun 16;25(18):17529-17539. Epub 2018 Apr 16.

Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, 3800, Australia.

The process parameters of microwave hydrothermal carbonization (MHTC) have significant effect on yield of hydrochar. This study discusses the effect of process parameters on hydrochar yield produced from MHTC of rice husk. Results revealed that, over the ranges tested, a lower temperature, lower reaction time, lower biomass to water ratio, and higher particle size produce more hydrochar. Maximum hydrochar yield of 62.8% was obtained at 1000 W, 220 °C, and 5 min. The higher heating value (HHV) was improved significantly from 6.80 MJ/kg of rice husk to 16.10 MJ/kg of hydrochar. Elemental analysis results showed that the carbon content increased and oxygen content decreased in hydrochar from 25.9 to 47.2% and 68.5 to 47.0%, respectively, improving the energy and combustion properties. SEM analysis exhibited modification in structure of rice husk and improvement in porosity after MHTC, which was further confirmed from BET surface analysis. The BET surface area increased from 25.0656 m/g (rice husk) to 92.6832 m/g (hydrochar). Thermal stability of hydrochar was improved from 340 °C for rice husk to 370 °C for hydrochar.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-1876-7DOI Listing
June 2018

Insights into substrate binding of ferulic acid esterases by arabinose and methyl hydroxycinnamate esters and molecular docking.

Sci Rep 2017 12 11;7(1):17315. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton, 3800, Victoria, Australia.

Ferulic acid esterases (FAE, EC 3.1.1.73) cleave the arabinose hydroxycinnamate ester in plant hemicellulose and other related substrates. FAE are commonly categorised as type A-D based on catalytic activities towards model, short alkyl chain esters of hydroxycinnamates. However, this system correlates poorly with sequence and structural features of the enzymes. In this study, we investigated the basis of the type A categorisation of an FAE from Aspergillus niger, AnFaeA, by comparing its activity toward methyl and arabinose hydroxycinnamate esters. k/K ratios revealed that AnFaeA hydrolysed arabinose ferulate 1600-fold, and arabinose caffeate 6.5 times more efficiently than their methyl ester counterparts. Furthermore, small docking studies showed that while all substrates adopted a catalytic orientation with requisite proximity to the catalytic serine, methyl caffeate and methyl p-coumarate preferentially formed alternative non-catalytic conformations that were energetically favoured. Arabinose ferulate was unable to adopt the alternative conformation while arabinose caffeate preferred the catalytic orientation. This study demonstrates that use of short alkyl chain hydroxycinnnamate esters can result in activity misclassification. The findings of this study provide a basis for developing a robust classification system for FAE and form the basis of sequence-function relationships for this class.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17260-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5725599PMC
December 2017

Microwave assisted conversion of microcrystalline cellulose into value added chemicals using dilute acid catalyst.

Carbohydr Polym 2017 Feb 23;157:1794-1800. Epub 2016 Nov 23.

Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton VIC 3800, Australia. Electronic address:

One of the grand challenges of this century is to transition fuels and chemicals production derived from fossil feedstocks to renewable feedstocks such as cellulosic biomass. Here we describe fast microwave conversion of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) in water, with dilute acid catalyst to produce valuable platform chemicals. Single 10min microwave assisted treatment was able to convert >60% of MCC, with >50mol% yield of desirable products such as glucose, HMF, furfural and levulinic acid. Recycling of residual MCC with make-up fresh MCC resulted in an overall conversion of >93% after 5 cycles while maintaining >60% conversion in each cycle. Addition of isopropanol (70%v/v) as a co-solvent increased the yields of HMF and levulinic acid. This work shows for the first time proof of concept for complete conversion of recalcitrant microcrystalline cellulose in mild conditions of low temperature, dilute acid and short residence time using energy efficient microwave technology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2016.11.066DOI Listing
February 2017

Biochemical characterization of a halotolerant feruloyl esterase from Actinomyces spp.: refolding and activity following thermal deactivation.

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 2016 Feb;100(4):1777-1787

Department of Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, 3800, Australia.

Ferulic acid esterases (FAE, EC. 3.1.1.73) hydrolyse the linkage between hemicellulose and lignin and thus have potential for use in mild enzymatic pretreatment of biomass as an alternative to thermochemical approaches. Here, we report the characterization of a novel FAE (ActOFaeI) obtained from the bacterium, Actinomyces sp. oral which was recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 in two forms: with and without its putative signal peptide. The truncated form was found to have <10 % relative activity compared to the full length and was more prone to aggregation after purification. The enzyme with retained peptide demonstrated 2 to 4-fold higher activity against methyl caffeate and methyl p-coumarate, with specific activities of 477.6 and 174.4 U mg(-1) respectively, than the equivalent activities of the benchmark FAE from Aspergillus niger A and B. ActOFaeI retained activity over a broad pH range with a maximum at 9 but >90 % relative activity at pH 6.5 and an optimum reaction temperature of 30 °C. ActOFaeI increased activity by 15% in high salt conditions (1000 mMNaCl) and its thermal unfolding temperature improved from 41.5 °C in standard buffer to 74 °C in the presence of 2500 mM sodium malonate. ActOFaeI also released ferulic acid from destarched wheat bran when combined with a xylanase preparation. After treatment above the thermal denaturation temperature followed by cooling to room temperature, ActOFaeI demonstrated spontaneous refolding into an active state. ActOFaeI displays many useful characteristics for enzymatic pretreatment of lignocellulose and contributes to our understanding of this important family.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00253-015-7044-9DOI Listing
February 2016