Graphene-based Materials for Applications in Heterogeneous Catalysis, Water Treatment and Solar Water Desalination

This talk will address the development of three classes of graphene-based materials as (1) support for metal nanoparticle catalysts in heterogeneous catalysis, (2) sorbent materials for the removal of heavy metal ions from polluted water, and (3) photothermal energy converter materials for efficient solar water desalination.

In heterogeneous catalysis, we will discuss the superior catalytic activity of Pd nanoparticles supported on reduced graphene oxide (RGO) nanosheets for carbon-carbon cross-coupling reactions. Second, the enhanced catalytic activity for the Fe-based nanoparticle catalysts supported on graphene in the Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis of liquid transportation fuels will be presented. Finally, the superior catalytic activity and selectivity of Pd nanoparticles supported on a sandwich-type nanocomposite consisting of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) wrapped with thin RGO nanosheets for the biomass-refining of liquids derived from lignocelluloisc sources will be presented.

For the removal of heavy metals from water, we will discuss the development of chemically modified graphene-based adsorbents containing highly efficient chelating groups such as diamine, imino and thiourea for the effective extraction of the toxic metal ions mercury (II), lead (II) and arsenic (V) from wastewater.

For photothermal energy conversion, we will discuss the development of a new generation of highly efficient, flexible, low weight, highly porous and cost effective Plasmonic Graphene Polyurethane (PGPU) nanocomposite materials for solar steam generation through the efficient evaporation of water surface pools. The PGPU nanocomposites contain metallic nanoparticles that exhibit very strong solar absorption. The polyurethane (PU) foam provides a hydrophilic surface with abundant microporous structure, excellent thermal insulation properties, and facile and scalable synthesis. The high solar thermal evaporation efficiency, excellent stability and long-time durability make the PGPU nanocomposites excellent candidates for solar-steam-generation applications and seawater desalination.

3:30pm | Mechanical Engineering Building (MEC) Rm 205
Friday, September 6, 2019
Dr. Samy El Shall
Virginia Commonwealth University
Professor Eric Herbst