Tungsten pentaboride, WB5-x, has recently gained attention from researchers due to its promising catalytic properties. Led by Professor Alexander Kvashnin, a group of scientists from Skoltech’s Energy Transition Center conducted a study on this new catalyst and discovered its potential applications in various fields. This article will delve into the findings of the research and shed light on the unique properties of tungsten pentaboride.

One of the key findings of the study was the identification of stable surfaces of the WB5-x crystal. The researchers observed that the new catalyst is not affected by sulfur-containing impurities, which commonly poison traditional catalysts, leading to a loss of activity. This discovery opens up possibilities for the use of tungsten pentaboride in applications such as cleaning industrial exhaust gases, mining precious metals, and photocatalytic production of hydrogen.

The researchers were surprised to find that the catalytic properties of tungsten pentaboride improved with a higher boron content in the compound. This was unexpected, as the active centers of catalysts are typically metal atoms. However, the study revealed that boron plays a crucial role in both adsorption and catalysis processes, making tungsten pentaboride a promising catalyst due to its high boron content.

One of the significant advantages of tungsten pentaboride is its resistance to poisoning by sulfur-containing compounds. Traditional catalysts based on noble and rare earth metals are often susceptible to poisoning, which reduces their efficiency over time. However, the researchers found that tungsten pentaboride remains unaffected by contact poisons, ensuring its long-term activity and effectiveness in various applications.

The study also explored the interaction of tungsten pentaboride with different gas molecules, including CO2. The researchers examined the positions of 10 atmospheric gases on the surface of the material and found that the catalyst was not poisoned by any of them. This resistance to poisoning, combined with its affordable price, makes tungsten pentaboride a highly attractive option for use in catalytic processes.

The research conducted by Professor Alexander Kvashnin and his team sheds light on the promising catalytic properties of tungsten pentaboride. The compound’s high boron content, stability in the presence of sulfur-containing impurities, and resistance to poisoning make it a viable option for a wide range of applications. Further studies in this area could unlock the full potential of tungsten pentaboride as a catalyst in various industrial processes.


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