[Text appears on screen: Can crystals clean gas, water and air?]
[Music plays and image changes to show Matthew]
Matthew Hill: My name’s Matthew Hill. I lead one of the teams here that works on porous materials, so these are powders with lots and lots of holes inside of them and these can be used for just about anything.
[Image changes to show Matthew operating a machine with lots of pipes and gauges]
And what we do is try to take something that’s an interesting scientific discovery and turn it into something that we can use out in the real world.
[Image changes to show Matthew and a colleague working with MOF samples]
So one of the materials we work with is called Metal Organic Frameworks or MOFs, and these things they look like salt or sugar crystals but inside them is a huge number of holes and those holes create a lot of surface inside. So they’re kind of like a sponge and there’s so much surface that there’s actually a football field worth of surface area in about a teaspoon worth of material.
[Image changes to show a shelf of bottled samples]
What we do is use all of that surface to soak up a target molecule. One really exciting use for MOFs is in storing hydrogen. The first hydrogen powered car has just come to Australia, it’s up in Sydney.
[Image changes to show Matthew filling up a gas cylinder as explained below]
What you do is you fill up, basically a gas cylinder with the hydrogen to run the car and it turns out if you put our MOFs, our special sponges, in the tank you can store as much as twice as much hydrogen in that tank and the exciting thing about a hydrogen car is that the only thing that comes out the exhaust pipe is water.
[Image changes to show a colleague of Matthew’s holding up a beaker with a clear liquid inside it and then moves to show Matthew talking to her]
So there’s no carbon dioxide emitted at all, so it’s very exciting as a way to stop our carbon omissions.
[Image changes to show Matthew holding a small child who is reaching for a leaf from a tree]
A lot of people would think science is not necessarily a very creative field, but I think it’s very creative. My aunt is a professional painter and a lot of people say that her and I are very similar people and how did we end up in such different areas, when I say, it’s actually the same, it’s about imagination and creativity and so every day we come to work we’re doing something that no one else in the history of the universe has ever done, and so that is necessarily creative and we have to imagine what the future might be.
[Image changes to show Matthew writing different equations]
We’re often working on time lines of many years, and if we can’t imagine what the end of our path might be then we tend to go around in a circle.
[Image changes to show Matthew and a colleague walking together]
Into the future, in the next couple of years, we’re really hopeful you’ll start to see our MOFs out there in the real world.
[Different images of Matthew playing with a child and at work flash by on screen]
We’re only really limited by what we can imagine using these things for and any application where you can think of separating or storing or releasing some target molecule of interest, and there’s just about every industry where this is relevant, we think these materials might play a part.
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