MATERIALS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING

For my graduate research, I was engaged in the development of novel low temperature cathode materials for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The idea was to identify and characterize materials that would allow solid oxide fuel cells to operate more efficiently at lower temperatures, and would allow for lower-cost manufacturing.

I created a flash animation that shows how hydrogen and oxygen gases combine to create a potential difference which can be used to generate electric power:

A cross section of an SOFC test cell showing cathode structure and porosity.

A cross section of an SOFC test cell showing cathode structure and porosity.

 

As a Research Assistant Professor at Boston Universtiy, I was engaged in many projects related to high-temperature materials science and electrochemistry. One project was based on rapid-response utility scale energy storage, which can cut in half the power costs of pumped hydroelectric and energy-capacity costs of current battery systems, and can deliver in minutes-to-hour range. This process takes advantage of excess electricity during off-peak hours, and converts that electrical energy to chemical energy, and stores that energy in the form of Tungsten metal, which can be recovered later during times of high demand. Two main processes occur:

  • STORAGE: Steam is broken into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2), and the H2 reduces tungsten oxide (WO3) to tungsten metal (W)

  • RECOVERY: On demand, steam (H2O) and W mix to form WO3 and H2

I created a flash animation of the process to help illustrate how it works:

During that time at BU, I also worked on Solid Oxide Membrane (SOM) based processes for mixed waste magnesium/magnesium oxide (Mg/MgO) recycling. This process can re-use old, partially oxidized magnesium scrap metal to make pure magnesium metal (that, for example, can be used to make cars lighter and therefore more efficient), we use electrochemistry to remove the oxygen from the MgO, and also remove other "contaminant" elements (zinc, copper, etc). I used CAD to design a research reactor that was later built and used to make pure magnesium.

 

As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Idaho National Laboratory, I worked on potentiometric sensor development for real-time monitoring of multivalent ion concentrations in LiCl-KCl molten salt electro-refining. I developed ceramic sensors for nuclear waste recycling to provide control for and to safeguard for the recycling process.