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Mechanistic studies of one-electron reduced bipyridine reactions relevant to carbon dioxide sequestration

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Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have

Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have been suggested, perhaps the most promising of these is based on electrochemical trapping of carbon dioxide using pyridine and derivatives. Optimization of this process requires a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of the reactions of reduced pyridines with carbon dioxide, which are not currently well known. This thesis describes a detailed mechanistic study of the nucleophilic and Bronsted basic properties of the radical anion of bipyridine as a model pyridine derivative, formed by one-electron reduction, with particular emphasis on the reactions with carbon dioxide. A time-resolved spectroscopic method was used to characterize the key intermediates and determine the kinetics of the reactions of the radical anion and its protonated radical form. Using a pulsed nanosecond laser, the bipyridine radical anion could be generated in-situ in less than 100 ns, which allows fast reactions to be monitored in real time. The bipyridine radical anion was found to be a very powerful one-electron donor, Bronsted base and nucleophile. It reacts by addition to the C=O bonds of ketones with a bimolecular rate constant around 1* 107 M-1 s-1. These are among the fastest nucleophilic additions that have been reported in literature. Temperature dependence studies demonstrate very low activation energies and large Arrhenius pre-exponential parameters, consistent with very high reactivity. The kinetics of E2 elimination, where the radical anion acts as a base, and SN2 substitution, where the radical anion acts as a nucleophile, are also characterized by large bimolecular rate constants in the range ca. 106 - 107 M-1 s-1. The pKa of the bipyridine radical anion was measured using a kinetic method and analysis of the data using a Marcus theory model for proton transfer. The bipyridine radical anion is found to have a pKa of 40±5 in DMSO. The reorganization energy for the proton transfer reaction was found to be 70±5 kJ/mol. The bipyridine radical anion was found to react very rapidly with carbon dioxide, with a bimolecular rate constant of 1* 108 M-1 s-1 and a small activation energy, whereas the protonated radical reacted with carbon dioxide with a rate constant that was too small to measure. The kinetic and thermodynamic data obtained in this work can be used to understand the mechanisms of the reactions of pyridines with carbon dioxide under reducing conditions.

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2015

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Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic characterization of nanomaterials and biopolymers

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Nanomaterials have attracted considerable attention in recent research due to their wide applications in various fields such as material science, physical science, electrical engineering, and biomedical engineering. Researchers have developed many methods for synthesizing different types of nanostructures and have

Nanomaterials have attracted considerable attention in recent research due to their wide applications in various fields such as material science, physical science, electrical engineering, and biomedical engineering. Researchers have developed many methods for synthesizing different types of nanostructures and have further applied them in various applications. However, in many cases, a molecular level understanding of nanoparticles and their associated surface chemistry is lacking investigation. Understanding the surface chemistry of nanomaterials is of great significance for obtaining a better understanding of the properties and functions of the nanomaterials. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy can provide a familiar means of looking at the molecular structure of molecules bound to surfaces of nanomaterials as well as a method to determine the size of nanoparticles in solution. Here, a combination of NMR spectroscopic techniques including one- and two-dimensional NMR spectroscopies was used to investigate the surface chemistry and physical properties of some common nanomaterials, including for example, thiol-protected gold nanostructures and biomolecule-capped silica nanoparticles.

Silk is a natural protein fiber that features unique properties such as excellent mechanical properties, biocompatibility, and non-linear optical properties. These appealing physical properties originate from the silk structure, and therefore, the structural analysis of silk is of great importance for revealing the mystery of these impressive properties and developing novel silk-based biomaterials as well. Here, solid-state NMR spectroscopy was used to elucidate the secondary structure of silk proteins in N. clavipes spider dragline silk and B. mori silkworm silk. It is found that the Gly-Gly-X (X=Leu, Tyr, Gln) motif in spider dragline silk is not in a β-sheet or α-helix structure and is very likely to be present in a disordered structure with evidence for 31-helix confirmation. In addition, the conformations of the Ala, Ser, and Tyr residues in silk fibroin of B. mori were investigated and it indicates that the Ala, Ser, and Tyr residues are all present in disordered structures in silk I (before spinning), while show different conformations in silk II (after spinning). Specifically, in silk II, the Ala and Tyr residues are present in both disordered structures and β-sheet structures, and the Ser residues are present primarily in β-sheet structures.

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Date Created
2017

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Electrolyte- and transport-enhanced thermogalvanic energy conversion

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Waste heat energy conversion remains an inviting subject for research, given the renewed emphasis on energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction. Solid-state thermoelectric devices have been widely investigated, but their practical application remains challenging because of cost and the

Waste heat energy conversion remains an inviting subject for research, given the renewed emphasis on energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction. Solid-state thermoelectric devices have been widely investigated, but their practical application remains challenging because of cost and the inability to fabricate them in geometries that are easily compatible with heat sources. An intriguing alternative to solid-state thermoelectric devices is thermogalvanic cells, which include a generally liquid electrolyte that permits the transport of ions. Thermogalvanic cells have long been known in the electrochemistry community, but have not received much attention from the thermal transport community. This is surprising given that their performance is highly dependent on controlling both thermal and mass (ionic) transport. This research will focus on a research project, which is an interdisciplinary collaboration between mechanical engineering (i.e. thermal transport) and chemistry, and is a largely experimental effort aimed at improving fundamental understanding of thermogalvanic systems. The first part will discuss how a simple utilization of natural convection within the cell doubles the maximum power output of the cell. In the second part of the research, some of the results from the previous part will be applied in a feasibility study of incorporating thermogalvanic waste heat recovery systems into automobiles. Finally, a new approach to enhance Seebeck coefficient by tuning the configurational entropy of a mixed-ligand complex formation of copper sulfate aqueous electrolytes will be presented. Ultimately, a summary of these results as well as possible future work that can be formed from these efforts is discussed.

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2015

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Magnesium battery electrolytes in ionic liquids

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A lack of adequate energy storage technologies is arguably the greatest hindrance to a modern sustainable energy infrastructure. Chemical energy storage, in the form of batteries, is an obvious solution to the problem. Unfortunately, today’s state of the art battery

A lack of adequate energy storage technologies is arguably the greatest hindrance to a modern sustainable energy infrastructure. Chemical energy storage, in the form of batteries, is an obvious solution to the problem. Unfortunately, today’s state of the art battery technologies fail to meet the desired metrics for full scale electric grid and/or electric vehicle role out. Considerable effort from scientists and engineers has gone into the pursuit of battery chemistries theoretically capable of far outperforming leading technologies like Li-ion cells. For instance, an anode of the relatively abundant and cheap metal, magnesium, would boost the specific energy by over 4.6 times that of the current Li-ion anode (LiC6).

The work presented here explores the compatibility of magnesium electrolytes in TFSI–-based ionic liquids with a Mg anode (TFSI = bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide). Correlations are made between the Mg2+ speciation conditions in bulk solutions (as determined via Raman spectroscopy) and the corresponding electrochemical behavior of the electrolytes. It was found that by creating specific chelating conditions, with an appropriate Mg salt, the desired electrochemical behavior could be obtained, i.e. reversible electrodeposition and dissolution. Removal of TFSI– contact ion pairs from the Mg2+ solvation shell was found to be essential for reversible electrodeposition. Ionic liquids with polyethylene glycol chains pendent from a parent pyrrolidinium cation were synthesized and used to create the necessary complexes with Mg2+, from Mg(BH4)2, so that reversible electrodeposition from a purely ionic liquid medium was achieved.

The following document discusses findings from several electrochemical experiments on magnesium electrolytes in ionic liquids. Explanations for the failure of many of these systems to produce reversible Mg electrodeposition are provided. The key characteristics of ionic liquid systems that are capable of achieving reversible Mg electrodeposition are also given.

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2016