PhD Students Webinar on catalysis

When: 26 April 2021, 15:00 GMT

A joint webinar from 3 PhD students on catalysis.

Alex Hawkins (Glasgow), Gareth Davies (Sheffield) and Gregory Sulley (Oxford) will talk about their PhD projects.

Gareth Davies (Sheffield) Operando studies of aerosol-assisted sol-gel (AASG) catalyst synthesis via combined optical trapping and Raman spectroscopy

Aerosol-assisted heterogeneous catalyst synthesis is a promising technique for synthesising solid materials with well-defined pore-size characteristics. However, due to the aerosol nature of the process it is challenging to conduct in situ or operando measurements of the formation of such materials. This presentation will demonstrate the use of optical trapping – conducted at the Central Laser Facility at the Harwell campus – combined with Raman spectroscopy in order to probe the chemical transformations occurring within an individual droplet during synthesis. A Ni/Al2O3 catalyst precursor is selected as an exemplar to demonstrate this first operando investigation of the AASG process.

Alex Hawkins (Glasgow) – Propene as an intermediate species in methanol-to-hydrocarbon catalysis over ZSM-5

Propene is believed to be an important intermediate in the formation of the hydrocarbon pool in methanol-to-hydrocarbon reactions. By studying the reaction of propene over H-ZSM-5 zeolite by both operando and ex situ methods we are able to gain insights into its reaction mechanisms and how they differ from MTH chemistry more broadly, providing new insight into the role of propene in the full process. The use of neutron scattering spectroscopy allows for detailed analysis of coke species within the zeolite through non-destructive means.

Gregory Sulley (Oxford) – Switchable Catalysis for the Preparation of CO2-Derived Polymers: The Case of a Heterodinuclear Zn(II)/Mg(II) Organometallic Catalyst

Switchable polymerization catalysis offers a facile route to prepare block copolymer architectures from a mixed monomer feedstock, with the potential to utilize renewable resources. Certain catalysts are now able to directly incorporate carbon dioxide into polymer materials, which provides a useful strategy for the utilization of this renewable C1 source. By developing a specially designed organometallic Zn(II)/Mg(II) heterodinuclear catalyst, the synthesis of ABA-type poly(carbonate-b-ester-b-carbonate) triblock polymers, with precise CO2 incorporation into the polymer backbone, is achieved.

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