A.B. Nalbandyan Institute of Chemical Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia
Chemical physics was developed in Armenia as an independent scientific direction in 1960 when the Laboratory of Chemical Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR was founded in Yerevan on the initiative of prof. A.B. Nalbandyan and full support of the Nobel Prize winner academician N.N. Semenov. In 1975 the Laboratory was reorganized into the Institute of Chemical Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR (IChPh of AS Arm SSR). In 1993 the Institute was named after academician A.B. Nalbandyan, the founder and permanent director from 1960 to 1987.
Since its foundation, the Institute has been conducting intensive and effective research on the theory of chemical transformation, kinetics, and the mechanism of chain, free-radical reactions, including combustion and ignition processes in the gas and condensed phases. The practical direction of these investigations covers the problems of processing hydrocarbons and natural mineral raw materials into valuable products, combustion processes with the participation of solid components: self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS) or combustion synthesis (CS) aimed at production refractory inorganic compounds, discovered by prof. A.G. Merzhanov.
Scientific developments of the leading scientists of the Institute and their effective application were adequately appreciated by the government of Armenia. In 1977 A.B. Nalbandyan and A.A. Mantashyan became laureates of the State Prize of Armenia for a series of studies “Elementary processes in slow gas-phase reactions,” and in 1980 the same prize was awarded to A.B. Nalbandyan, A.G. Merzhanov and several leading scientists of the Institute for the manufacturing application of advanced SHS-technology for the production of molybdenum disilicide at a plant for the production of high-temperature heaters in Kirovakan (Armenia). Thanks to the development of original methods and approaches the IChPh of AS Arm.SSR has occupied and now occupies a reputable place among well-known research centers. Using the kinetic method of radical freezing in combination with EPR spectroscopy developed at the Institute (A.B. Nalbandyan, A.A. Mantashyan, et al.), for the first time, chain carriers, peroxyl radicals, were directly detected in degenerate branched chain gas-phase oxidation reactions. The results obtained enabled to confirm the basic principles of the theory of degenerate-branched chain reactions at the free-radical level, to observe new phenomena associated with the oxidation mechanism of paraffinic and olefinic hydrocarbons. In heterogeneous catalytic reactions for the first time free radicals were detected in the gas phase and their participation in these processes has been evaluated. The chain nature of cold flames has been established and methods have been developed for the selective obtaining of olefins and their oxygen derivatives. It is shown that free radicals formed during the decomposition of peroxides (oxidation products of organic substances) on the surface of chemical reactors pass into the volume, causing branching of the reaction chains of gas-phase oxidation of organic compounds. By this process, low-temperature ignition of gaseous reaction mixtures was interpreted.
To study the elementary reactions of free radicals in the liquid phase, and to reveal the antioxidant properties of various compounds, a new kinetic method using EPR has been developed and applied. To increase the yield and selectivity of the resulting target products in the oxidation processes, a new type of biomimetic catalyst based on metal complex compounds of nitrogen-containing coals has been synthesized (L.A. Tavadyan).
In the area of modeling and kinetic analysis of complex (multistep) chemical reactions, on the basis of the Hamiltonian formalism, a new numerical value method and an appropriate software package have been developed that allow estimating the contribution of elementary reactions and components, identifying the critical states of reaction systems, and predicting ways to effectively control them (L.A. Tavadyan). These studies have been summarized in monographs published in 2005 (Л.А. Тавадян, Г.А. Мартоян. “Анализ кинетически моделей химических реакционных систем. Ценностный подход,” Ереван, Гитутюн, 248 c.) and in 2014 (L.A. Tavadyan, G.A. Martoyan. “Analysis of Kinetic Models of Chemical Reaction Systems.” Value Approach, New York, Nova Publishers Inc., 2014, 223 p.).
New effective catalysts for various practically important chemical reactions have been obtained based on nanosized powders of a number of transition metals and their compounds. Methods for the synthesis and activation of these catalysts by the action of ultrasound, microwave radiation, and other physicochemical factors have been proposed.
Since 1972 in the Institute, studies are carrying out in the field of self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS) of refractory inorganic compounds and composite materials, which are of practical importance. In 1980 by the decision of the Armenian government, a special design bureau for refractory materials (SDB RM) was established at the Institute, in which SHS production (from tens of kilograms to several tons) of more than 15 types of chemicals and composite materials was organized. These materials were produced mainly by order of extensive research and production organizations and enterprises of the military-industrial complex of the former USSR.
The synthesis of transition metal hydrides during combustion of the initial metal powders in the hydrogen atmosphere was carried out for the first time at the IChPh of AS Arm.SSR. A wide range of binary and complex hydrides has been obtained, which have practical value (S.K. Dolukhanyan).
Refractory carbides, nitrides, silicides, borides, and composite materials on their basis have been synthesized, and mechanisms for the formation of these compounds were proposed. A new approach has been proposed for stimulating SHS processes using various polymeric and organic compounds as combustion promoters (S.L. Kharatyan, H.H. Nersisyan).
To study the kinetics of fast solid-phase chemical transformations under isothermal and non-isothermal conditions at high temperatures, unique electrothermographic devices of a new generation with the wide functional capability of electronic control and with appropriate software in the Windows environments have been developed and constructed: (i) high-speed scanning electrothermograph (HS-SET-3) with the possibility of controlled heating of a thin metallic wire at a rate of up to 106 K/s and (ii) the high-speed temperature scanner (HSTS-2) with a controlled heating rate of powder mixtures up to 104 K/min (A.G. Zargaryan, S.L. Kharatyan).
The IChPh of NAS RA closely cooperates with several leading universities in Armenia: Yerevan State University (YSU), National Polytechnic University of Armenia (NPUA), Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University, State Pedagogical University of Armenia (SPUA), as well as with many research organizations and companies. Leading scientists of the Institute are lecturing at the universities listed, and many students from these universities are involved in the research work of the Institute. Thanks to such cooperation, the Institute gets the opportunity to solve one of the current challenges: replenishment of the scientific team with young specialists.
The Institute permanently turns out highly qualified scientists, many of whom are working in research, educational and commercial organizations both in Armenia and abroad. Over the past 60 years, twelve scientists of the Institute became doctors of science, including three academicians and one corresponding member of the NAS RA, and more than eighty became candidates of science. Currently, scientific research of the Institute in various fields of chemical physics, combustion, catalysis, materials science, environmental chemistry, etc. is carried out in six laboratories and eight research groups involving 81 researchers. Over twenty former employees of the IChPh of NAS RA currently work in scientific centers and companies in the USA, Russia, Italy, France, the Republic of Korea, Canada, and Finland. In cooperation with colleagues from various scientific organizations and countries the scientists of the IChPh of NAS RA published 17 monographs, more than 1600 scientific articles, and one invention (L.A. Tavadyan with colleagues is the author of the discovery of USSR No. 338, 1987), received 9 patents (Armenia - 6, Russia - 1, France - 1, Eurasian - 1), 77 copyright certificates (Armenia - 7, USSR - 70), more than 25 international grants were implemented (ISTC - 3, INTAS - 2, COPERNICUS - 1, CRDF - 1, CNRS - 1, NFSAT-CRDF - 3, ANSEF - 4, PMI - 2, etc.). More than 20 international conferences and workshops have been organized.
From 2011-2018 with the financial support of the Science Committee of RA, the Institute developed technologies and organized pilot production of new innovative products: highly effective and environmentally friendly disinfectant "Bioxil-2" based on active oxygen and the rust converter "LA-2".
The IChPh NAS RA maintains close cooperation with many scientific centers and organizations in Russia, the USA, Germany, France, Spain, China, Belarus, Estonia, the Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries.