Understanding and Controlling Nanoscale Molecular Metal Oxides for Responsive Reaction Systems

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Inst of Particle Science & Engineering

Abstract

This project builds on the recently established Chemistry-Chemical Engineering-Particle Engineering collaboration between Cronin, Lapkin and Ding, facilitated by an EPSRC Chemistry-Chemical Engineering Discipline Hopping seed grant. The grant enabled collaboration in the form of secondment, developing awareness of new research fields for each of the collaborators. The current discipline hopping project Molecular metal oxides for process intensification enabled the investigators to start identifying the key scientific challenges that lie at the interface between the three disciplines in the areas of intensified catalytic processes and the design of metal clusters with novel physical properties, that can be exploited and utilised in compact reactors. The discipline hopping model gave an opportunity to the co-investigators to gain in-depth understanding of the problems and potentials of new developments in the three research areas: synthesis of novel molecular metal oxides, application of nanoparticles in heat transfer and the design of intensified compact parallel reactor systems, which is now beginning to produce scientific output.1 At the same time, the discipline hopping model revealed the potential for a fundamental development in the research direction within each of the PI's research groups (LC / inorganic cluster chemistry, now having focus on functional molecular metal oxides, AL / novel chemistry for catalysis and reactors, now having focus on exploitation of reversible switching functionalities, YD / heat transfer nanofluids, now focusing on nanoparticles, self assembly, and responsive nanofluids) which could only be possible using the unique combination of expertise of LC, AL and YD. Initial data generated within the discipline hopping grant on the performance of synthesised metal oxides, and the analysis of the future potential of the synergistic development in all three areas resulted in the current proposal. A comprehensive program would allow a step change in process intensification and the underlying chemistry of molecular metal oxides and their self organisation into larger structures and aggregates. This research aims to integrate three main objectives: (1) cluster design and synthesis, (2) catalyst and reactor design, (3) synthesis and characterisation of nanofluids to be combined under a single umbrella to produce an integrated approach to catalysis and process development. As such the personnel employed will also benefit from secondment to each of the collaborating laboratories at critical points during the project. This will have the additional benefit of engaging young researchers at the research interface between chemistry and chemical engineering.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Through this project, we developed a number of nano-particle suspensions that change their properties and behaviour when subject to temperature change and flow shear. We developed a method for formulation and manufacture of nano-particles in different base liquids that stablised at elevated temperatures. We were able to show that the shear-dependence of stable suspensions could be used for the self-regulation of heat transfer and therefore has the potential to over prevent thermal runaway in chemical reactors.
We successfully interpreted the rheological and heat transfer behaviour of nano-suspensions based on theoretical analyses and experimental measurements, contributed to the clarification of the confusion in the community in terms of the mechanisms of heat conduction and rheological behaviour due to various conflicting results.
Exploitation Route The route for the findings to be used was defined at the beginning of the project, namely to disseminate to industry as well as to publish through academic papers. The work has led to a significant number of journal publications and industrial interests. We still publish in the area and industrial interest remains even today (2016).
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Energy,Environment

 
Description The impact of the work includes the following aspects: 1) The work has contributed to our internationally leading position in this area. 2) Through the project, we played a key role in the international benchmark exercise on nano-fluids funded by US NSF. 3) The outcomes were used by a University of Leeds spin out company, Dispersia Ltd. 4) Through the project, a close collaborative relationship was established with MIT, leading to the clarification and conformation of correctness of the Young-Laplace equation for the bubble nucleation on surfaces with nano-sized features.
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Chemicals,Energy,Environment
 
Description Abengoa Solar
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Leeds-IPSE483360 
Organisation Abengoa 
Department Abengoa Solar
Sector Private
Country Spain
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2014
 
Description Abengoa Solar NT
Amount £22,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Abengoa - TOK - Leeds 
Organisation Abengoa 
Department Abengoa Solar
Sector Private
Country Spain
Start 05/2010 
End 05/2011
 
Description Abengoa Solar NT
Amount £22,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Abengoa - TOK - Leeds 
Organisation Abengoa 
Department Abengoa Solar
Sector Private
Country Spain
Start  
 
Description EPSRC Programme Grant
Amount £4,227,886 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P00945X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 11/2021
 
Description Energy Stoage Grand Challenge
Amount £924,591 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P003435/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2019
 
Description External collaboration grants
Amount £430,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SGRI Project No 1 
Organisation State Grid Corporation of China 
Sector Public
Country China
Start 01/2015 
End 10/2017
 
Description External collaborative research
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SGRI Project No 2 
Organisation State Grid Corporation of China 
Sector Public
Country China
Start 12/2015 
End 11/2018
 
Description Procter & Gamble
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Crystallisation 2011 
Organisation Procter & Gamble 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 07/2011 
End 06/2012
 
Description Reduce of End Use Energy Demand
Amount £1,573,522 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P004709/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 12/2020
 
Description Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation
Amount £92,500 (GBP)
Funding ID Corex - understanding 
Organisation Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation 
Sector Public
Country China
Start 04/2012 
End 09/2013
 
Description Studentship
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Crystallisation 2011 
Organisation Procter & Gamble 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 08/2011 
End 07/2012
 
Description Studentship
Amount £36,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Structured Particles 
Organisation Procter & Gamble 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 10/2010 
End 09/2013
 
Description n-COSH
Amount £924,591 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P003435/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 10/2019