Collaborative Research: Quantifying the Reactive Surface Area of Environmental Solids

Project: Research project

Project Details


The Environmental Chemical Sciences Program in the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation supports the research of Professors Peggy A. O'Day from the University of California- Merced, Karl T. Mueller from Pennsylvania State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and James D. Kubicki of Pennsylvania State University who will perform collaborative research that will investigate reactive surfaces of environmental solids and their dynamic nature. Competitive adsorption, kinetics, and aging in aqueous systems of divalent cations sorbed to oxide and clay mineral surfaces will be examined through the development of novel, site-specific probe molecule(s) using solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in conjunction with complementary spectroscopic/microscopic characterizations and computational chemistry. This research will address fundamental, long-standing questions about active, molecular binding sites at surfaces of environmental solids and their dynamic nature.

Accurate scaling of mineral surface reactivity is broadly applicable and essential to a number of important applications of societal relevance. Potential broader impacts include, for example, assessing risks associated with environmental contaminants such as surface and subsurface migration or natural attenuation of metal, radionuclide, and organic contaminants; quantifying processes such as nutrient input of P, N, and Fe sorbed on mineral particles into lakes or the oceans; and estimating the extent of CO2 reaction and sequestration by minerals in subsurface injection. This research program will train graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in interdisciplinary chemical environmental sciences involving multiple and iterative spectroscopic characterization methods and quantitative computational approaches.

Effective start/end date9/15/128/31/16


  • National Science Foundation: $610,000.00


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