An interdisciplinary research group led by Rodney O. Fox, Herbert L. Stiles Professor of Chemical Engineering at Iowa State University, has been awarded a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the aggregation of nanoparticles in chemical reaction processes.
Fox's Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team is comprised of scientists and engineers from the chemistry, chemical engineering and mechanical engineering departments at ISU, Kansas State University and the University of Minnesota. Joining them in the project will be scientists from ETH Zrich (the Swiss Federal Technical University) and companies such as Merck, Dupont, BASF and Dow Chemical.
The goal is to better understand the behaviour of particles in chemical reacting flows. The researchers will examine this behaviour at various stages of the chemical reaction process, focusing on such areas as quantum mechanical codes, particle surface chemistry, molecular dynamic simulations and large-scale clusters.
The studies may benefit the chemical and pharmaceutical industries in their efforts to prevent nanoparticles from aggregating into larger units, which can alter the fundamental characteristics of their products.