The world of minerals is as wild as the world of animals when it comes to discovering new specimens.
A research team led by a crystallographer (crystal specialist) Stanislav Filatov from the University of St. Petersburg has discovered a wonderful new entry into the world of minerals: petrovite. Petrovite is beautiful to look at, but can also help inspire progress in next-generation batteries.
The bright blue mineral comes from a wild place: a volcanic landscape formed by major eruptions in the 1
The mineral is named after another crystallographer from the University of St. Petersburg, Tomasz Petrov. The team published a study on petrovite in Mineralogical Magazine earlier this year.
Petrovite is especially interesting because it is a bit strange in its composition and structure. “The mineral consists of oxygen atoms, sodium sulfur and copper, which form a porous structure,” the university said. “The cavities are interconnected by channels through which relatively small sodium atoms can move.”
This means that petrovite can be useful as a component of sodium ion batteries, a type of rechargeable battery that can be converted intocommon today.
Petrov was born in a fiery place in the wild, but Filatov said researchers could study the synthesis of a compound with the same structure in a laboratory for use in developing batteries. It would be quite a trip from a volcano to powering gadgets in people’s homes.