Let’s talk about foams. From your shampoo to the milk on your cappuccino, foams are everywhere. They help us make these bubbly mixtures between gas and liquids. In the chemical industry, however, foams have a bit of a bad reputation, because they hinder the operation of catalysts. Essentially, for these catalysts to work, they have to be in contact with the gas inside the bubbles and the liquid around them. Unfortunately, these catalysts love bubbles too much. They gather around the bubbles and they just float away, like bubbles in a soda can. This disrupts the chemical reaction, because the catalyst is no longer in contact with the liquid. To solve this issue I propose to join forces with the foams. I design special catalysts that have coatings that allow them to stay in contact with the gas and with the liquid in such a way that they don’t float away. This ensures a uniform spread of these bubbles in the liquid, creating a highly efficient foam reactor. These foam-friendly catalysts can allow us to convert plastic waste into added value products, produce green chemicals from sunlight and purify drinking water by removing toxic molecules. All in all, I think we will have a bright and bubbly future.

University of Twente

In the chemical industry, foam has a bad reputation for blocking catalysts. Jimmy Faria designs special catalysts with coatings that ensure they stay in contact with the gas and liquid.

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