The Saunders Laboratory focuses on understanding the thermodynamics and transport phenomena of small molecules in complex mixtures with a focus on material synthesis and processing for catalysis, nuclear fuel reprocessing, and food science. Each of these applications is extremely important to modern society as catalytic processes account for 80% of industrial chemical processes, nuclear fuel waste is persistent and extremely hazardous, and poor diet is one of the largest risk factors leading to death. Small molecules, including surfactants, chelating agents, solvent modifiers, and sugars, interact and assemble at the molecular level. Manipulation of those interactions allows us to tune materials processing operations to be more efficient and provide more useful final products (e.g., more active or selective catalyst). A common theme of our research is the use of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to characterize and analyze molecular behavior. NMR provides molecular structure, information about the environment near the molecules, and the ability the measure the self-diffusion coefficients of any species under steady-state conditions. With the ability to characterize molecular behavior at the molecular level, we strive to develop structure-property-processing-performance relationships to ultimately tune material performance.
- Switchable Surfactants for the Preparation of Supported Catalysts
- Understanding Nanomaterials Syntheses and Processing
- Improving Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing
- Understanding Food-Relevant Mixtures