Synthesis and characterization of shape/size-controlled metal oxides nanopowders

Required Availability
The End of Time
Course Credit?
Yes - MTE 491
Paid Position?
Yes - $10 per hour

The research objective of this project is to advance the fundamental understanding of structural and chemical features (morphology, size, atomic-level structure, etc) of metal oxide nanomaterials in order to develop stable catalysts with high reducibility at low temperatures for the application in automotive catalytic converter. Using low-temperature hydrothermal method, students will prepare a series of high surface-area metal oxides nanopowders with a focus on controlling particle morphology and size in such a way that highly catalytically active crystal faces are exposed on the particle surfaces. X-ray diffraction (XRD) will be used to establish the overall crystal structures of the nanopowders. The overall reducibility and catalytic activity of the materials will be investigated by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) under reducing conditions and through hydrogen temperature programmed reduction (H2-TPR). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) related techniques will be used to study particle morphology, atomic-level structure and chemistry of active nanoparticles. By analyzing and contrasting the structure and chemistry for the nanopowders with their activity, we will be aim to further our understanding of the origin and mechanism of the low-temperature catalytic activity of some transition metal oxides and cerium-based oxides. Expectations for students: 1. Ability to work at least 10 hours per week between hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm, Monday through Friday. 2. Synthesize materials and run XRD, TPR, and Raman on each of the samples. 3. Compare results and plot graphs. 4. Compile reports about results and procedures. 5. Give group presentations.

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