Author: Sue Hill

Sue Hill is the Digital Content Manager for the College of Engineering.

Mechanism of Humins Formation during Catalytic Conversion of Cellulose-Derived Carbohydrates

Friday, April 20, 2012
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building
Carl R. F. Lund
Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY

John & Virginia Towers Distinguished Lecture Series


Cellulosic biomass represents a potential resource for sustainable production of fuels and chemicals. When cellulose is hydrolyzed using mineral acids as catalysts, dark-colored, tarry solids known as humins form as undesirable by-products. The formation and growth of humins have been investigated using small batch reactors, and the resulting humins have been characterized, primarily using scanning electron microscopy and infrared spectroscopy. The aqueous phase free energies of proposed reaction intermediates have been computed using quantum chemistry. The experimental and computational results are consistent with a sequential pathway for the formation of humins. The primary reaction proceeds through the sequential conversions of cellulose to glucose (perhaps) to fructose to HMF to levulinic acid. The predominant pathway for the formation of humins involves the conversion to HMF to 2,5-dioxo- 6-hydroxyhexanal (DHH). DHH rapidly undergoes aldol addition/condensation with available aldehydes or ketones. The resulting adduct then polymerizes to form humins. The experimental studies have shown that humin morphology, size and size distribution are affected by solvent choice. It has also been established that chemical functional groups can be added to the humins during or after their formation. These finding might lead to ways to convert humins from a waste byproduct to a more valuable commodity.

Bio: Dr. Lund is a SUNY Distinguished Professor. He was a department chair from 1997 to 2006. He obtained his B. S. from Purdue University in 1976 and Ph. D. from University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1981. His research interests include heterogeneous catalysis for energy and environmental applications, reaction engineering of membrane reactors, and biomass conversion. He received many awards, including NSF Presidential Young Investigator, SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Lilly Teaching Fellow. He published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers.

Characterization of Trap States in HfO2 with Atomic Scale Spatial Resolution Using Single Electron Tunneling Force Spectroscopy

Friday, April 13, 2012
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building
Dustin Winslow
University of Utah
The rapid advancement of technology has led to increasingly faster and smaller solid state devices. One reason for this rapid development is the dedicated effort to characterize the defects in the dielectric materials used in solid state electronics. While many techniques have been developed over the years to characterize trap states in dielectric materials no technique has allowed for characterization of localized electron and hole trap states, in completely nonconducting films, with atomic scale spatial resolution. This talk will focus on the force detected tunneling techniques developed in the Williams lab at the University of Utah over the last decade, with an emphasis on the recently developed single electron tunneling force spectroscopy (SETFS) technique. The apparent density of localized trap states in HfO2 measured using SETFS will be compared to experimental results and theoretically predicted values found in the literature. The convoluted nature of the apparent energy and physical depth information of the trap states will be discussed, and the methodology to separate this information will be explained. Finally, evidence of mobile charge in HfO2 will be presented and a possible mechanism proposed to explain the irreversible nature of the surface charging.

Hu Attends ACS Meeting

Associate Professor Yun Hang Hu (MSE) attended the 243rd meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Diego in late March.

Hu was the program chair of the ACS fuel chemistry division, which featured 68 sessions and 607 papers (a record since 1961) presented by scientists worldwide.

With more than 164,000 members, the ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information.

The fuel chemistry division (renamed energy and fuels division) is one of 32 technical divisions.

Read more at Tech Today.

MSE Entries in Expo 2012

Expo2012 Undergraduate Expo Entries

Title and Representative

Economic Recovery of Alloying Elements from Grinding Swarf
Alicia Steele

Reduce Distortion in Ferritic Nitrocarburizing of Gray Iron
Carol Deming

Fatigue in Stainless Steel Components Produced by Powder Metallurgy & Hot Isostatic Pressing
Samantha Leonard

EZAC Creep Testing Team
Deane Kyle

Effects of Mn and Sn on Ductile Iron
Dale Goodloe

Residual Stress of Gray Iron Brake Rotors
Carol Dem

Waupaca FNC Case Depth
Ashwin, Vekaria


Advanced Metalworks Enterprise
Zac Dvorak

Product Upgrading From Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis: You Have To Understand The Old Dog Before You Can Teach It New Tricks

Friday, April 6, 2012
3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

Dady B. Dadyburjor
Department of Chemical Engineering
West Virginia University


The Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process converts synthesis gas (syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) to long-chain hydrocarbons in the gasoline, kerosene and/or diesel range at moderate-to-high pressures and temperatures in the presence of a catalyst. The catalysts used consist of multiple metals on a support. Most work in our laboratory has been carried out using iron as the main metal and activated carbon as the support. Chemical promoters such as Mo, K and Cu are often added. FT liquids generally require upgrading before use as fuels, to remove waxes, and to improve the iso-to-normal paraffin ratio. In the first part of this work, we systematically vary the amounts of the metals and the type of support to show the effects of each of these on individual products (e.g., benzene) as well as classes of products (e.g., aromatics). In the second part of this work, we show the effect on the product distribution of adding ZSM-5 zeolite as an upgrading catalyst, either intimately mixed with the FT catalyst, or downstream of it.

Bio: Dr. Dadyburjor is currently Professor of Chemical Engineering at WVU. He served as Department Chair during 1999-2009. His research has been in the areas of sintering and redispersion of supported metal catalysts, coking of cracking catalysts, catalytic direct coal liquefaction, and catalysts for water-gas shift and for the production of high-molecular-weight alcohols and synthesis gas. Prior to arriving at WVU in 1983, he was an Associate Professor and Assistant Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a post-doctoral fellow with Eli Ruckenstein at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He received his undergraduate degree at IIT, Bombay and his graduate degrees at the University of Delaware. He has participated as a Visiting Professor or Guest Professor at various institutions in this country and overseas: EPFL (Switzerland), Technion (Israel), UC Berkeley, Fritz-Haber-Institut (Berlin), Institute of Coal Chemistry (Taiyuan), and Kitami Institute of Technology (Japan). He has served on the Board of Directors of the North American Catalysis Society and of the Council for Chemical Research, President of the Pittsburgh-Cleveland Catalysis Society, Chair of Area 1b (Kinetics, Catalysis and Reaction Engineering) of AIChE, and Chair of the Division of Petroleum Chemistry of ACS. He is currently on the Visiting Committee of Ohio University and the Editorial Board of Fuel Chemistry and Technology, and is an editor of the ACS journal Energy and Fuels. He was elected a Fellow of AIChE in 1999. In 2007, he was appointed a Resident Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Energy Studies at the National Energy Technology Laboratory of USDOE.

Pearce Presents on Campus Energy

Associate Professor Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) presented a lecture, “Campus Energy Paradigm Shift: Examining Diverse Campus Strategies Resulting in the Largest Carbon Pollution Reductions, Cost Savings and Student Learning Benefits,” sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation at the Ninth Ball State University Greening of the Campus Conference in Muncie, Ind.

While at the conference Pearce also presented two additional papers on solar photovoltaics and open-source research in applied sustainability.

From Tech Today, March 27, 2012.