Mechanism of Carbon Oxidation Reactions
Ralph Yang Principal Investigator
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This study addresses two aspects of the mechanism of carbon oxidation reactions: the role of surface diffusion and the nature of the "strong sites" on carbon. Diffusion of oxygen across the surface is studied using an argon-flush experiment in which the continued growth after reaction of monolayer etch pits on the basal plane of graphite is measured in an inert atmosphere. The second topic is investigated with high- temperature (1000-1500 C) temperature-programmed desorption of surface oxygen complexes; exploratory experiments show significant amounts of carbon monoxide desorb in this range. In addition, monolayer channeling and monolayer edge recession studies will be extended to carbon/carbon dioxide and carbon/water reactions catalyzed by alkali and alkaline earth catalysts; experimental techniques include gold-decoration transmission electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and spectroscopic analysis. Oxidation of carbon is one of the most important processes underlying civilization and is also one of the least understood. It is a classical fundamental problem involving gas-solid kinetics, catalysis, diffusion, morphology, and heat transfer. It is also of practical importance for combustion, synthetic fuels, and particulate control.