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Ultrathin coatings of nanoporous materials as property enhancements for advanced functional materials.

Description: This report summarizes the findings of a five-month LDRD project funded through Sandia's NTM Investment Area. The project was aimed at providing the foundation for the development of advanced functional materials through the application of ultrathin coatings of microporous or mesoporous materials onto the surface of substrates such as silicon wafers. Prior art teaches that layers of microporous materials such as zeolites may be applied as, e.g., sensor platforms or gas separation membranes. These layers, however, are typically several microns to several hundred microns thick. For many potential applications, vast improvements in the response of a device could be realized if the thickness of the porous layer were reduced to tens of nanometers. However, a basic understanding of how to synthesize or fabricate such ultra-thin layers is lacking. This report describes traditional and novel approaches to the growth of layers of microporous materials on silicon wafers. The novel approaches include reduction of the quantity of nutrients available to grow the zeolite layer through minimization of solution volume, and reaction of organic base (template) with thermally-oxidized silicon wafers under a steam atmosphere to generate ultra-thin layers of zeolite MFI.
Date: November 1, 2010
Creator: Coker, Eric Nicholas
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The oxidation of aluminum at high temperature studied by Thermogravimetric Analysis and Differential Scanning Calorimetry.

Description: The oxidation in air of high-purity Al foil was studied as a function of temperature using Thermogravimetric Analysis with Differential Scanning Calorimetry (TGA/DSC). The rate and/or extent of oxidation was found to be a non-linear function of the temperature. Between 650 and 750 %C2%B0C very little oxidation took place; at 850 %C2%B0C oxidation occurred after an induction period, while at 950 %C2%B0C oxidation occurred without an induction period. At oxidation temperatures between 1050 and 1150 %C2%B0C rapid passivation of the surface of the aluminum foil occurred, while at 1250 %C2%B0C and above, an initial rapid mass increase was observed, followed by a more gradual increase in mass. The initial rapid increase was accompanied by a significant exotherm. Cross-sections of oxidized specimens were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM); the observed alumina skin thicknesses correlated qualitatively with the observed mass increases.
Date: October 1, 2013
Creator: Coker, Eric Nicholas
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Novel catalysts for hydrogen fuel cell applications:Final report (FY03-FY05).

Description: The goal of this project was to develop novel hydrogen-oxidation electrocatalyst materials that contain reduced platinum content compared to traditional catalysts by developing flexible synthesis techniques to fabricate supported catalyst structures, and by verifying electrochemical performance in half cells and ultimately laboratory fuel cells. Synthesis methods were developed for making small, well-defined platinum clusters using zeolite hosts, ion exchange, and controlled calcination/reduction processes. Several factors influence cluster size, and clusters below 1 nm with narrow size distribution have been prepared. To enable electrochemical application, the zeolite pores were filled with electrically-conductive carbon via infiltration with carbon precursors, polymerization/cross-linking, and pyrolysis under inert conditions. The zeolite host was then removed by acid washing, to leave a Pt/C electrocatalyst possessing quasi-zeolitic porosity and Pt clusters of well-controlled size. Plotting electrochemical activity versus pyrolysis temperature typically produces a Gaussian curve, with a peak at ca. 800 C. The poorer relative performances at low and high temperature are due to low electrical conductivity of the carbon matrix, and loss of zeolitic structure combined with Pt sintering, respectively. Cluster sizes measured via adsorption-based methods were consistently larger than those observed by TEM and EXAFS, suggesting , that a fraction of the clusters were inaccessible to the fluid phase. Detailed EXAFS analysis has been performed on selected catalysts and catalyst precursors to monitor trends in cluster size evolution, as well as oxidation states of Pt. Experiments were conducted to probe the electroactive surface area of the Pt clusters. These Pt/C materials had as much as 110 m{sup 2}/g{sub pt} electroactive surface area, an almost 30% improvement over what is commercially (mfg. by ETEK) available (86 m{sup 2}/g{sub pt}). These Pt/C materials also perform qualitatively as well as the ETEK material for the ORR, a non-trivial achievement. A fuel cell test showed that Pt/C outperformed the ETEK ...
Date: December 1, 2005
Creator: Thornberg, Steven Michael; Coker, Eric Nicholas; Jarek, Russell L. & Steen, William Arthur
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Summary report : universal fuel processor.

Description: The United States produces only about 1/3 of the more than 20 million barrels of petroleum that it consumes daily. Oil imports into the country are roughly equivalent to the amount consumed in the transportation sector. Hence the nation in general, and the transportation sector in particular, is vulnerable to supply disruptions and price shocks. The situation is anticipated to worsen as the competition for limited global supplies increases and oil-rich nations become increasingly willing to manipulate the markets for this resource as a means to achieve political ends. The goal of this project was the development and improvement of technologies and the knowledge base necessary to produce and qualify a universal fuel from diverse feedstocks readily available in North America and elsewhere (e.g. petroleum, natural gas, coal, biomass) as a prudent and positive step towards mitigating this vulnerability. Three major focus areas, feedstock transformation, fuel formulation, and fuel characterization, were identified and each was addressed. The specific activities summarized herein were identified in consultation with industry to set the stage for collaboration. Two activities were undertaken in the area of feedstock transformation. The first activity focused on understanding the chemistry and operation of autothermal reforming, with an emphasis on understanding, and therefore preventing, soot formation. The second activity was focused on improving the economics of oxygen production, particularly for smaller operations, by integrating membrane separations with pressure swing adsorption. In the fuel formulation area, the chemistry of converting small molecules readily produced from syngas directly to fuels was examined. Consistent with the advice from industry, this activity avoided working on improving known approaches, giving it an exploratory flavor. Finally, the fuel characterization task focused on providing a direct and quantifiable comparison of diesel fuel and JP-8.
Date: January 1, 2008
Creator: Coker, Eric Nicholas; Rice, Steven F. (Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA); Kemp, Richard Alan; Stewart, Constantine A.; Miller, James Edward; Cornelius, Christopher James et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Confined cooperative self-assembly and synthesis of optically and electrically active nanostructures : final LDRD report

Description: In this project, we developed a confined cooperative self-assembly process to synthesize one-dimensional (1D) j-aggregates including nanowires and nanorods with controlled diameters and aspect ratios. The facile and versatile aqueous solution process assimilates photo-active macrocyclic building blocks inside surfactant micelles, forming stable single-crystalline high surface area nanoporous frameworks with well-defined external morphology defined by the building block packing. Characterizations using TEM, SEM, XRD, N{sub 2} and NO sorption isotherms, TGA, UV-vis spectroscopy, and fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy indicate that the j-aggregate nanostructures are monodisperse and may further assemble into hierarchical arrays with multi-modal functional pores. The nanostructures exhibit enhanced and collective optical properties over the individual chromophores. This project was a small footprint research effort which, nonetheless, produced significant progress towards both the stated goal as well as unanticipated research directions.
Date: October 1, 2011
Creator: Coker, Eric Nicholas; Haddad, Raid Edward (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM); Fan, Hongyou; Ta, Anh (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM); Bai, Feng (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM); Rodriguez, Mark Andrew et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A revolution in micropower : the catalytic nanodiode.

Description: Our ability to field useful, nano-enabled microsystems that capitalize on recent advances in sensor technology is severely limited by the energy density of available power sources. The catalytic nanodiode (reported by Somorjai's group at Berkeley in 2005) was potentially an alternative revolutionary source of micropower. Their first reports claimed that a sizable fraction of the chemical energy may be harvested via hot electrons (a 'chemicurrent') that are created by the catalytic chemical reaction. We fabricated and tested Pt/GaN nanodiodes, which eventually produced currents up to several microamps. Our best reaction yields (electrons/CO{sub 2}) were on the order of 10{sup -3}; well below the 75% values first reported by Somorjai (we note they have also been unable to reproduce their early results). Over the course of this Project we have determined that the whole concept of 'chemicurrent', in fact, may be an illusion. Our results conclusively demonstrate that the current measured from our nanodiodes is derived from a thermoelectric voltage; we have found no credible evidence for true chemicurrent. Unfortunately this means that the catalytic nanodiode has no future as a micropower source.
Date: November 1, 2010
Creator: Cross, Karen Charlene; Heller, Edwin J.; Figiel, Jeffrey James; Coker, Eric Nicholas; Creighton, James Randall; Koleske, Daniel David et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Reimagining liquid transportation fuels : sunshine to petrol.

Description: Two of the most daunting problems facing humankind in the twenty-first century are energy security and climate change. This report summarizes work accomplished towards addressing these problems through the execution of a Grand Challenge LDRD project (FY09-11). The vision of Sunshine to Petrol is captured in one deceptively simple chemical equation: Solar Energy + xCO{sub 2} + (x+1)H{sub 2}O {yields} C{sub x}H{sub 2x+2}(liquid fuel) + (1.5x+.5)O{sub 2} Practical implementation of this equation may seem far-fetched, since it effectively describes the use of solar energy to reverse combustion. However, it is also representative of the photosynthetic processes responsible for much of life on earth and, as such, summarizes the biomass approach to fuels production. It is our contention that an alternative approach, one that is not limited by efficiency of photosynthesis and more directly leads to a liquid fuel, is desirable. The development of a process that efficiently, cost effectively, and sustainably reenergizes thermodynamically spent feedstocks to create reactive fuel intermediates would be an unparalleled achievement and is the key challenge that must be surmounted to solve the intertwined problems of accelerating energy demand and climate change. We proposed that the direct thermochemical conversion of CO{sub 2} and H{sub 2}O to CO and H{sub 2}, which are the universal building blocks for synthetic fuels, serve as the basis for this revolutionary process. To realize this concept, we addressed complex chemical, materials science, and engineering problems associated with thermochemical heat engines and the crucial metal-oxide working-materials deployed therein. By project's end, we had demonstrated solar-driven conversion of CO{sub 2} to CO, a key energetic synthetic fuel intermediate, at 1.7% efficiency.
Date: January 1, 2012
Creator: Johnson, Terry Alan (Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA); Hogan, Roy E., Jr.; McDaniel, Anthony H. (Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA); Siegel, Nathan Phillip; Dedrick, Daniel E. (Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA); Stechel, Ellen Beth et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department