The Crew has been newly formed, so labs are being constructed as the research is moving. The main lab consists of several Gas Chromatography instruments including 2 SRI GC instruments coupled with Thermo conductivity detectors (TCD’s) that can be utilized to monitor light gases such as H2, CO, CO2, O2and N2. There are also two Agilent 5890’s that are GCs coupled with a flame ionization detector (FID) for liquid analysis and tailored to specific catalysis processes currently being researched. Another instrument in the lab is a Perkin Elmer GC – FID/MS, which will be tailored specifically to catalysis research, but also be used in some forest restoration, and industrial work.
The Crew is also interested in researching some CO2 utilization with smaller biosystem bases, for environmental applications and communities. The Crew is probing different types of systems and attempting to understand the flow in which algae utilizes carbon dioxide. The intent is to build a small, versatile system capable of being paired and then utilized for specific environments and smaller based processes. The hope in the future is to pair these with some other systems on Asbury University’s campus, outside the lab, to further assist in understanding how these systems can be utilized. These are the starting points for a multitude of directions.
Catalytic Design and Materials
The Crew also works in catalytic design and materials, focusing on supports and promoters, and looking at various metal organic frameworks (MOF), silica materials, zeolites and mixed oxides. Supports for several of the catalytic processes have been thought to be mostly inert. In the past 30 years, focus in materials has increased as these have not only been shown to be active, but to have the potential to tune the product of the specific catalytic process, as observed in manner FTS experiments. Supports are truly a huge benefit for selectivity, as observed with the addition of KL zeolite to the aromatization process, and support the catalyst in lowering the activation barrier, as seen more recently in low temperature WGS processes.
The Crew has also begun some collaborative work with the Media Communication department’s Production Design Studies Center to work assist in and understand many of the in-house historical materials. The collaborative efforts here will assist in understanding a multitude of specific issues related to these collections including the decomposition, how to maintain them, understand more about the history told form these, by probing them not only through common analytical techniques, but possibly also through more uncommon routes with light and photography. A majority of these collections are from the art and design and production design folks – historic folks such as John DeCuir. This provides such a fantastic opportunity for the Crew to not only understand more about the history, but to work with the art and design community to preserve and honor such a distinguished heritage.
The lab also incorporates the conservation of a variety of materials that range from metal pieces of materials used during the Civil War, books that are from the Civil War, architecture books from all over the world written in the mid 1800’s, to a host of materials from the design studio (not all of these pieces are on typical paper, as some are not on paper at all but materials such as ceiling tiles). Research is being done to understand not only how to protect these materials, but how they decompose. In-house resources are being used to understand how these products were made. Understanding how to preserve these materials is important, but of equal importance is learning the history behind these materials. The Crew will focus in on developing and utilizing standard operating procedures for maintaining and working with these materials. The hope is to further probe these materials by collaborating various types of spectroscopy instrumentation and photography.