I3A - Instituto de Investigación en Ingeniería de Aragón

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GATHERSGroup of Applied Thermodynamics and Surfaces
The Group of Applied Thermodynamics and Surfaces (GATHERS) is a research group of the Aragón Institute of Engineering Research (I3A) that has been registered as Quality Applied Research Group (Grupo Consolidado de Investigación) by the Regional Government of Aragón (Gobierno de Aragón). Besides the research activity described down these lines, GATHERS is directly involved in teaching undergraduates and postgraduates at the Faculty of Sciences and the School of Engineering and Architecture in the University of Zaragoza. It participates actively in the departmental Doctoral Program in Physical Chemistry. In an effort to increase public awareness, our staff also collaborates in many activities and forums in its own University as well as in other Universities, These collaborations include courses, scientific conferences, and seminars. Specially relevant are courses in the master of Thermodynamic Engineering of Fluids (University Rovira I Virgili in Tarragona) and the interuniversitary (University Jaume I in Castellón, University of Valencia and Polytechnique University of Valencia) master of Sustainable Chemistry as well as the participation in the Erasmus Programme with universities in Portugal, Italy, Germany and France. Finally, GATHERS is also deeply involved in promoting collaborations and coordinated projects with other research groups and departments as well as with national, European and international networks. The main objective of group GATHERS is to serve the society though research and research transfer aimed to the development of sustainable and environmental friendly processes.
 

Research Lines

Processes & Recycling

Processes using Supercritical and Compressed Fluids and Thermophysical Properties

Our work in this area is mainly oriented to the development of processes using supercritical or compressed CO2 as a “green solvent” for obtaining safer and better quality...

Our work in this area is mainly oriented to the development of processes using supercritical or compressed CO2 as a “green solvent” for obtaining safer and better quality products. Several techniques are applied for a wide range of processes including extraction, fractionation, purification and formulation of bioactive substances (mainly biopesticides and antioxidants). Supercritical CO2 is also used to the treatment of materials. Closely related to this is the measurement of thermophysical properties for liquid mixtures (calorimetry, densities, viscosities and vapour-liquid equilibrium) and solids (heat capacity). These properties provide relevant information for the design of processes in the chemical industry. Contact: Ana Mª Mainar Fernández at gathers@unizar.es.
 

Electrochemistry: electrosynthesis, electroplating, and corrosion prevention

Our Laboratory of Electrochemistry and Corrosion currently develops processes of electroorganic synthesis which is a low cost and environmental friendly method for producing...

Our Laboratory of Electrochemistry and Corrosion currently develops processes of electroorganic synthesis which is a low cost and environmental friendly method for producing high purity compounds of high added value at small-scale. In many cases, we can achieve good yields in processes that are impossible or very difficult to be carried out by means of conventional reactions. On the other hand, we are developing new electro-deposition processes based on the use of ionic liquids. Finally, we perform studies of corrosion and corrosion inhibition in circuits and devices of refrigeration and heating, according with the legal regulations currently in force. Contact: Juan I. Pardo at gathers@unizar.es.
 

Computational Simulation of Compounds, Mixtures and Reactions

In this area we carry out the simulation of compounds, mixtures and reactions by means of computational calculations and models based on statistical thermodynamics. The...

In this area we carry out the simulation of compounds, mixtures and reactions by means of computational calculations and models based on statistical thermodynamics. The structures and relevant properties of the compounds are determined in-silico in order to predict their behaviour. This allows the design of compounds (with redox properties, antioxidant activity, corrosion inhibitors, organic synthesis intermediates) or mixtures (for absorption refrigeration processes and separation and enrichment of natural products) and the screening of the more promising of them, thus reducing the experimental effort. Contact: Ana Mª Mainar Fernández at gathers@unizar.es.

Agronomic and environmental studies

We participate from a physico-chemical perspective in projects relating to the assessment of the conservation status of waters in mountain lakes as indicators of environmental...

We participate from a physico-chemical perspective in projects relating to the assessment of the conservation status of waters in mountain lakes as indicators of environmental pollution. On the other hand, we also participate in studies concerning the acclimatization, selection, preservation of aromatic plants or forestry materials and the exploitation of their valuable products or those of their wastes as well as the exploitation of valuable products from algae. This line also supports the design of molecules (with redox properties, antioxidant activity, corrosion inhibitors, organic synthesis intermediates) and fluid mixtures (for absorption refrigeration processes and separation and enrichment of natural products). Contact: José S. Urieta at gathers@unizar.es.
 

Key Projects

Processes & Recycling

Simulation of cell and protein adhesion on titanium-coated metal discs using ionic liquids

The project was created to investigate and develop technologies for the application of ionic liquids in titanium electrodeposition processes more environmentally friendly than...

The project was created to investigate and develop technologies for the application of ionic liquids in titanium electrodeposition processes more environmentally friendly than those currently employed, and that would fulfil the high requirements of the sector of biomedicine. (2012/0478. Bio-Vac España – Universidad de Zaragoza -GEMM-GATHERS-2010/05/19 to 2013/12, in the frame of the CENIT project 2010 "Research in Ionic Liquids Technologies for Industrial Applications (LIQUION)" led by MAIER Coop

Supercritical technologies for the optimization of biopesticides: fractionation, enrichment and formulation

The project is aimed to the optimization at the laboratory scale of biopesticides from vegetables and agricultural residues through the intensification of supercritical...

The project is aimed to the optimization at the laboratory scale of biopesticides from vegetables and agricultural residues through the intensification of supercritical technologies based on CO2. The innovative features of the project lie on the sequenced use of several supercritical techniques (Supercritical Fluid Extraction, Supercritical Antisolvent Fractionation, Supercritical Fluid Assisted Atomization, Particles from Gas-Saturated Solutions drying, …) to improve the fractionation, enrichment and polymeric micro/nanoencapsulation of natural bioactive products. Two JCR papers and several conference communications have been issued up to date.
 

Synthesis of derivatives of biological interest and their nanoencapsulation using intelligent polymers

The project is aimed to the development of new antioxidants (cysteine derivatives) that operate as biostimulants, i.e., as enhancers of the self-defense mechanisms of plants...

The project is aimed to the development of new antioxidants (cysteine derivatives) that operate as biostimulants, i.e., as enhancers of the self-defense mechanisms of plants that help them to overcome stress conditions such as the lack of water or the action of pests. In addition, the antioxidants will be nanoencapsulated with smart polymers in order to improve the performance of applied products. Nanoencapsulation also helps to meet the requirements of food security.
 

Advances in the design of catalysts for electrochemical reactors in alkaline media. comparative analysis with acid media

This project focuses on the development of alkaline membrane fuel cells and specially alkaline membrane direct methanol fuel cells (AMDMFCs). It also considers the building up...

This project focuses on the development of alkaline membrane fuel cells and specially alkaline membrane direct methanol fuel cells (AMDMFCs). It also considers the building up of an electrochemical reactor for the reduction of CO2 in alkaline media. In both cases transition metals (Ag, Cu, Fe, Ni or Co) on carbon materials supports will be tested as catalysts. The carbon materials properties will be modified by the introduction of heteroatoms (O, N and S). The electrochemical reactions will be studied applying conventional electrochemical techniques: Studies in a single fuel cell using a test station will be developed preparing electrode/membrane/electrode assemblies.
 

Key Technologies

Processes & Recycling

Development of processes at high pressures and using supercritical fluids

Development of processes (extraction, fractionation, purification and formulation) at high pressures and using supercritical fluids. Food, cosmetics, perfumery, and pharmacy...

Development of processes (extraction, fractionation, purification and formulation) at high pressures and using supercritical fluids. Food, cosmetics, perfumery, and pharmacy industries (commercial).
 

Thermophysical characterization of solids, fluids and mixtures

Thermophysical characterization of solids, fluids and mixtures. Chemical industry, fine chemical;. food, cosmetics, and pharmacy industries (proof-of-concept).
 

Thermophysical characterization of solids, fluids and mixtures. Chemical industry, fine chemical;. food, cosmetics, and pharmacy industries (proof-of-concept).
 

Development of electrochemical (electrosynthesis, electroplating, corrosion) processes

Development of electrochemical (electrosynthesis, electroplating, corrosion) and photoelectrochemical processes. Chemical industry, fine chemicals: food, cosmetics, and pharmacy...

Development of electrochemical (electrosynthesis, electroplating, corrosion) and photoelectrochemical processes. Chemical industry, fine chemicals: food, cosmetics, and pharmacy industries (prototype).
 

In Silico design of compounds and reactions using computational calculations and models

In Silico design of compounds and reactions using computational calculations and models. Chemical and pharmaceutical industry (proof-of-concept).
 

In Silico design of compounds and reactions using computational calculations and models. Chemical and pharmaceutical industry (proof-of-concept).
 

Analysis of water. Acclimatization of aromatic-medicinal plants. Poplar preservation

Analysis of waters from mountain lakes and fluvial systems. Domestication of aromatic plants. Semi-industrial scale hydrodistillation and steam distillation for aromatic plants...

Analysis of waters from mountain lakes and fluvial systems. Domestication of aromatic plants. Semi-industrial scale hydrodistillation and steam distillation for aromatic plants. Germplasm bank for poplar.
 

Services

Processes & Recycling

IIn Silico design of antioxidant compounds, fluid mixtures and reactions using computational calculations and models
  • Determination of molecular structures.
  • Calculation of relevant properties (ionization energy, formal potential, bond dissociation energy) and prediction of antioxidant activity...
  • Determination of molecular structures.
  • Calculation of relevant properties (ionization energy, formal potential, bond dissociation energy) and prediction of antioxidant activity from these properties.
  • Calculation of properties of fluid mixtures using models based on statistical thermodynamics.
  • Prediction of viability of reactions of synthesis by means of calculations of the stability of intermediantes and/or final products.
Development of electrochemical (electrosynthesis, electroplating, corrosion) processes
  • Electrosynthesis at laboratory scale of organic compounds.
  • Electro-deposition of metals using ionic liquids.
  • Measurement of corrosion speed by electrochemical and...
  • Electrosynthesis at laboratory scale of organic compounds.
  • Electro-deposition of metals using ionic liquids.
  • Measurement of corrosion speed by electrochemical and gravimetric methods.
  • Cyclic voltammetry.
  • Determination of potencial screens for ionic liquids.
Analysis and other services related to the environment
  • Analysis of water.
  • Analysis of natural extracts through GC, GC-MS and HPLC-DAD.
  • Semi-industrial scale hydrodistillation of aromatic-medicinal plants.
  • Studies...
  • Analysis of water.
  • Analysis of natural extracts through GC, GC-MS and HPLC-DAD.
  • Semi-industrial scale hydrodistillation of aromatic-medicinal plants.
  • Studies on acclimatization of aromatic-medicinal plants.
  • Services of preservation of poplar biodiversity and selection of poplar varieties for its introduction and diverse uses.
Thermophysical characterization of solids, liquids and mixtures
  • Heat capacity of solids, pure liquids and liquid mixtures.
  • Excess enthalpy of liquid mixtures at atmospheric pressure.
  • Density of pure liquids and liquid mixtures at...
  • Heat capacity of solids, pure liquids and liquid mixtures.
  • Excess enthalpy of liquid mixtures at atmospheric pressure.
  • Density of pure liquids and liquid mixtures at atmospheric and high pressure.
  • Isobaric/isothermal vapour pressure of pure liquids and liquid mixtures at atmospheric pressure.
  • Viscosity of pure liquids and liquid mixtures at atmospheric pressure.
  • Refraction index of pure liquids and liquid mixtures ar atmospheric pressure.
  • Dielectric permittivity of pure liquids and liquid mixtures ar atmospheric pressure.
Development of processes for separation, fractionation, encapsulation and treatment of materials at high pressures and using supercritical CO2
  • Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE).
  • Supercritical Antisolvent Fractionation (SAF).
  • Supercritical Fluid Assisted Atomization (SAA).
  • Particles from Gas-...
  • Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE).
  • Supercritical Antisolvent Fractionation (SAF).
  • Supercritical Fluid Assisted Atomization (SAA).
  • Particles from Gas-Saturated Solutions drying (PGSS).

Success Cases

Processes & Recycling

Use of essential oils, supercritical extracts and aqueous wastes generated in a process for obtaining organic extracts of the plant Artemisia absinthium

International Patent Application. Patent Title: Use of essential oils, supercritical extracts and aqueous wastes generated in a process for obtaining organic extracts of the plant Artemisia...

International Patent Application. Patent Title: Use of essential oils, supercritical extracts and aqueous wastes generated in a process for obtaining organic extracts of the plant Artemisia absinthium. Application PCT/ES2012/070162. Data: 2012/03/13. Consortium: CSIC-Universidad de Zaragoza-CITA (Gobierno de Aragón).

Extraction Procedure of bio-insecticides from the wormwood plant Artemisia absinthium L.

Extraction Procedure of bio-insecticides from the wormwood plant Artemisia absinthium L. (Procedimiento de extracción de derivados bioinsecticidas de la planta Ajenjo Artemisia Absinthium L.)....

Extraction Procedure of bio-insecticides from the wormwood plant Artemisia absinthium L. (Procedimiento de extracción de derivados bioinsecticidas de la planta Ajenjo Artemisia Absinthium L.).Patent Application Reference: P201031389. Date Received: 16/09/2010, RO: OEPM Madrid. Modality: Invention Patent. Object of the Invention: A new product including a specific point on: Production of supercritical extract (with CO2) characterized. PRIORITY COUNTRY: Spain. Consortium: CSIC-Universidad de Zaragoza-CITA (Gobierno de Aragón). Extending the previous patent application by PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty Patent) in September 2011. Ref PCT/ES2011070641.

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