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Nanoparticle Research by ChemE's Giannis Mpourmpakis Could Take the Guesswork Out of Creating New Metals

The steel beams that make up bridges and skyscrapers, the gold used for jewelry and the brass that forms musical instruments can be traced back to tiny building blocks invisible to the naked eye called metal nanoparticles — materials around 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Scientists have been able to synthesize metal nanoparticles for years, but have not been able to figure out why they formed at specific sizes. This meant they had to rely on trial-and-error methods to make new kinds of metals needed for the aforementioned examples. In addition, no one is quite sure what makes these particles stable.

Giannis Mpourmpakis' work is supported by the American Chemical Society and the National Science Foundation.
A new study in Nature Communications, co-authored by Pitt’s Giannis Mpourmpakis, an assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, and PhD candidate Michael Taylor, offers a possible way to unravel these mysteries, with the help of computer simulations.

Read the full story by Amerigo Allegretto in Pittwire.

Image above: The gold used in jewelry can be traced back to microscopic building blocks invisible to the naked eye called metal nanoparticles. University of Pittsburgh assistant professor Giannis Mpourmpakis and PhD candidate Michael Taylor have been researching how metal nanoparticles are synthesized to create more efficient production processes. (Pittwire)

Author: Amerigo Allegretto, University Communications