Chemical communication between solids placed at distance: Sol-gel entrapped acids and bases
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Chemical reactions between “far-away” components are quite common in the living world and in geological processes, and are affected by communicating shuttling molecules and ions. Surprisingly, there has been little attention in the chemical literature to model these natural processes by bench-laboratory heterogeneous reactions. Towards that goal we report the study of chemical communication between solid acids and bases placed at distance. The porous solids were prepared by entrapping various acids and bases in silica sol-gel matrices. We recall that while, of course, dissolved acids and bases titrate each other, when solid acids and bases are placed in the same pot, titration can be affected only through an ion-exchange process. This property is used here to cause the two distantly placed solids to communicate with each other. In particular, we use here the entrapped acids as senders of messenger-hydronium ions and as receivers of hydroxyl ions, and entrapped bases as senders of messenger-hydroxyls. We demonstrate the possibility to control the parameters of the communication between these solids.
KeywordsCommunication at distance Sol-gel Titration Ion-exchange
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