Flame Synthesis of Catalysts and Applications

Flame aerosol synthesis (FAS) is an established method of synthesizing nanoparticles. It remains to account for the production of the majority of commercial nanoparticulate products including but not limited to carbon black, fumed silica, and the benchmark photocatalyst, P25 TiO2.  FAS is a continuous flow process where precursor vapors or micro-droplets are fed to a flame, pyrolyzed, and form nanoparticles as an aerosol. The recovery of the particles from the aerosol is less energy consuming than separation of a slurry due to the difference in viscosity, and the waste treatment is simpler because with properly selected precursors, the exhaust of FAS is hardly different from that of a gas burner. In laboratory studies, the high reaction temperature of FAS (typically >1500 ¬įC) and the tunable redox environment provide a versatile platform that has facilitated the synthesis of almost all nonradioactive metal oxides and noble metal nanoparticles. They have found a wide range of applications in thermo- and photocatalysis. Moreover, by aiming a particle-laden flame at a substrate, nanostructured films can be prepared without separating the particles, which is an attractive synthesis strategy for electrochemical devices.

In this talk, the syntheses and applications of a few representative catalysts by FAS in our lab will be presented, including NiFe-P for electrochemical oxygen evolution, Cu for CO2 electrochemical reduction and NiOx-SiAlOx for oligomerization of ethylene. We will show that FAS is a promising alternative method for fabrication of nanocatalysts with controllable properties.  

Professor Rong Xu, School of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Nanyang Technological University; C4T CREATE, National Research Foundation, Singapore


Photo of Rong Xu

Rong received her Bachelor, Master and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from National University of Singapore. She joined Nanyang Technological University (NTU) as an Assistant Professor in 2004 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010 and Professor in 2017. Her lab has actively worked in the field of catalysis for clean energy and environmental applications. To date, she has published more than 180 papers in top tier journals including Journal of the American Chemical Society, Advanced Materials, Angewandte Chemie, Energy & Environmental Sciences, Science Advances, ACS Nano, Chemical Society Review and so on. Her citation and H-index are >18000 and 75 (Web of Science). She was recognized as one of the Highly Cited Researchers in 2020 by Clarivate Analytics. She is currently an Associate Editor of Journal of Catalysis, and EnergyChem. She is also an Editorial Board Member of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, ACS Central Science, and Chemical Engineering Journal. She is currently the Research Director of Engineering and Physical Sciences in Vice President Research’s office. She is also the co-Director of Singapore Energy Consortium (SEC). In her role as a lecturer, she is devoted to teaching foundation courses for engineering training, including Mass & Energy Balance and Heat Transfer.

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