Chemistry welcomes back 2009 Honours students, Nick Ballam and Wayne Dillon who have recently embarked upon new Ph.D. programs with an industrial flavour.
Nick will be working in the Catalysis group of Associate Professor Trevor Brown.
Catalysis is a vital field within chemistry and will become increasingly important in a world of environmental issues such as climate change and
rapidly depleting reserves of fossil fuels. There is a paucity of information on heterogeneous basic catalysts. This project will investigate the kinetics and acid-base properties of the catalytic decomposition of 2-butanol over magnesium oxide, zirconium dioxide, vanadium pentoxide, beryllium oxide and calcium oxide using a low-pressure steady-state technique, which will also be used to investigate the
pretreatment of these catalysts at high temperatures.
Research into the surface chemistry of each of the metal oxides will also be carried out.
Wayne Dillon is working with Dr Peter Lye in the development of functionalised optical fibres for remote metal ion sensing .
The development of technologies with high sensitivity, short response times and selectivity is of increasing importance for applications in industrial processing and environmental monitoring. This project is an investigation into a potential technology that will allow the detection or sensing of metal ions using photonics. The chief goal of the project will be to develop an optical fibre system capable of detecting the presence, and concentration, of metal ions in solution. This will be achieved by grafting macrocyclic polyamine ligands onto the surface of silica core optical fibres. Macrocyclic polyamine ligands have been shown to have high levels of selectivity for metal ions. Additionally, the incorporation of diazo functional groups to these ligands would allow metal ion detection based on colour changes resulting from the ligand and not the metal complex.
The design and synthesis of the attaching ligands will be of particular interest, as will the determination of such values as formation constants, formation kinetics and surface coverage.