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UD scientists develop new theory to help improve catalysis research

A new theory by researchers at the University of Delaware-led Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI) will help bring greater accuracy and focus to molecular science research, with the potential for far-reaching impact across multiple industries. The findings— reported by UD graduate student researchers Joshua Lansford and Alexander Mironenko with support from CCEI director Dionisios Vlachos—establish predictive capability for the behavior of molecules called adsorbates. Adsorption is a process by which molecules of gas, liquid or dissolved solids adhere to a surface, including metals such as iron, copper, nickel and titanium.

Adsorption is essential to important scientific processes like catalysis, and lends itself to multiple industrial applications, including water filtration, the production of non-stick coatings and silica gel, and even extending the shelf life of prescription medication. 

CCEI’s theory, published in the November 2017 issue of the science journal Nature Communications, will help increase the rapidity and accuracy of thermochemistry predictions used in adsorption research.