Investigations into the Oxidative Desulfurization Activity in a Film-Shear Reactor, the Source of Enhanced Reactivity, and Other Potential Applications
Fox, Brandy R., 1981-
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Fox, Brandy R., 1981-
Fuel purification is an extremely active area of research in today's green world. Specifically, desulfurization of fuels is an important area of research for two reasons. First, any sulfur present in fuels generates SOx pollutants that are hazardous to human health and also contribute to acid rain. Secondly, even trace sulfur contaminants prohibit the use of fuel streams in fuel cells. However, achieving near-zero sulfur levels with existing technology is impractical. The work in this thesis investigates a new process for the removal of sulfur from fuel streams using a film-shear reactor (based on a process known as oxidative desulfurization), and goes on to investigate the mode of activation for the process within the reactor through a study of the reactor conditions. Additionally, other applications of the film-shear reactor, including mechanical activation of molecules and controlled nanoparticle synthesis are explored. Chapter I outlines the current status of oxidative desulfurization research, highlighting the strengths of the method, innovative approaches and drawbacks to the various approaches. Chapters II and III go on to discuss the enhancement of the process in the film-shear reactor using model fuels and a variety of substrates. This method was found to significantly enhance the oxidative desulfurization process, reducing both the time and temperature required to achieve considerable sulfur removal. Levels of desulfurization that require hours at elevated temperatures by conventional stirring methods were obtainable on the scale of seconds at or below room temperature. Chapter IV offers investigations into the conditions within the film-shear reactor, and also presents studies of the ability of the high shear rates obtained in the reactor to mechanically activate molecules. Chapter V extends the applicability of the film-shear reactor to nanoparticle synthesis through investigation of two titania synthesis methods utilizing the film-shear reactor. Appendices A and B offer supplementary information to enhance the studies presented in Chapters II and III, while Appendices C, D, and E highlight work done investigating the ability of platinum complexes to hydrate nitriles and cyanohydrins. This dissertation includes previously published and unpublished co-authored material.