Dr. Lee D. Wilson (PhD) is an Associate professor in the department of chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan with research interests in physical chemistry and macromolecular systems in aqueous media. Wilson’s research is in the area of Physical Chemistry, Materials & Environmental Science where current efforts are being directed at the development of new types of macromolecular materials and their structure-function relationships that relate to adsorption phenomena. Modified biopolymer materials will have a tremendous impact on areas such as green catalysis, aquatic environments, biotechnology, medicine, chemical delivery/separation systems, and sorbent materials for water purification.
Biopolymers and their composites were used as supports for the preparation of silver-based nanoparticles (Ag-NPs). The supported Ag-NPs were structurally characterized using a range of methods such as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), NMR spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), thermogravimetry. The adsorption properties of the biopolymers and composites in presence and absence of Ag-NPs were evaluated using a dye-based method to assess the textural properties and surface accessibility of active adsorption sites of these materials. The catalytic properties of the supported Ag-NPs were studied by examining the reduction of 4-nitrophenol in the presence of sodium borohydride (cf. graphic abstract). A systematic study of the reaction kinetics for this process provides a detailed understanding of the kinetic pathway for the reduction of 4-nitrophenol.
Audience Take away:
• New approaches to materials design with catalytic properties
• The role of morphology and surface adsorption properties in catalysis
• The use of biopolymers for anchoring silver nanoparticles
• Adsorption based processes are ubiquitous in catalysis and the ability to design improved catalyst materials is a topic of ongoing research. This research will contribute to facile strategies on how to modify the surface biopolymer materials for a range of organocatalysis and materials science & engineering applications.