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NSTC/AMPAC Seminars

Mechanochemical and Mechanocatalytic Syntheses for the Scalable Production of Nanostructured High Performance Materials and Catalysts

Richard Blair, Ph.D.
NanoScience Technology Center
University of Central Florida

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Light refreshments will be served

Contact:

Mari Pina
NanoScience Technology Center
Phone: 407-882-1515
Email: Mari.Pina@ucf.edu

Date: Wednesday, January 22, 2014; 11:00am - 12:00pm
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: Harris Corporation Engineering Center, Room 101

Nanostructured catalysts and high performance materials offer the promise of improved yields, new reaction pathways, and greener syntheses. However, these materials remain quite costly due to inefficiencies in their production methods. We have successfully implemented scalable solutions for the preparation of nanostructured catalysts based on clays and boron nitride as well as structural materials based on graphene. These catalysts have found use in the conversion of cellulose to value-added compounds, the metal-free heterogeneous hydrogenation of olefins, and the reduction of CO2 to formic acid. The scalable production of edge-functionalized few layer graphene has allowed the Blair group, in partnership with the UCF spin-off Garmor, Inc., to become one of the largest producers of graphene-based materials in the United States.

Mechanical processing, in a reactive environment, offers a cost-effective route to industrially important products and the scalable production of nanomaterials. Scaling this approach is a crucial step toward realizing commercially viable syntheses. Although much work has been performed on laboratory-scale investigations little has been done to move these approaches toward industrially relevant scales. Moving reactions from shaker-type mills and planetary-type mills to scalable solutions can present a challenge. We have investigated scalability through discrete element models, thermal monitoring, and reactor design. We have found that impact forces and macroscopic mixing are important in the implementation of a truly scalable process. These observations have allowed us to scale reactions from a few grams to tens of kilograms.

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