Northwestern Events Calendar


Center for Catalysis and Surface Science Monthly Meeting - Dr. Aaron Sadow

When: Friday, February 2, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CT

Where: Ryan Hall, 4003, 2190 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Kimberly Leroi   (847) 467-3396

Group: Center for Catalysis and Surface Science (CCSS)

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Center for Catalysis and Surface Science (CCSS) Monthly Meeting

When: Friday, February 2, 2024 | 12:00 – 1:00pm
Where: Ryan Hall. 4003 | Online via Zoom

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Speaker: Dr. Aaron Sadow, Iowa State University, Dept. of Chemistry, Ames National Laboratory

Abstract: We are investigating catalytic materials and methods that regulate the cleavage of C–H bonds or C–C bonds in polyolefins, to introduce functional groups at selected positions or to create narrow distributions of shorter, partially deconstructed chains. This approach involves the design and synthesis of 3D porous inorganic metal oxide architectures which contain catalytic sites in well-defined positions in the material, along with spectroscopic investigations and theoretical models of polymer adsorption and translocation in the pores. In parallel, we are developing catalytic sites and reactions that break C–C and C–H bonds in aliphatic hydrocarbon polymers. As these catalytic sites are incorporated into 3D architectures and studied in polyolefin deconstruction reactions, our team is developing theoretical, kinetic models and in situ spectroscopic methods for studying the ‘macromolecular’ mechanisms that influence the average chain lengths of products and the dispersity of product distributions. 

Such approaches using micro or mesoporous materials can lead to processive catalysis, whereby a polymer chain is adsorbed into the pores of the inorganic oxide and is successively cleaved into smaller fragments without release of the ever-shortening polymer chain. Nanoparticles, responsible for C-C cleavage, localized in the pores at uniform distances from the pore mouth, then cleave polyolefin chains into semi-regular smaller chain lengths. We will present our studies of these architectures and catalytic reactions in the selective deconstruction of polyolefins. 

Speaker Bio: Aaron Sadow earned a B.S. from Penn State in 1997 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2003, where he developed new catalytic methods for methane utilization. He worked as a postdoc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) before initiating his independent career as a scientist at Ames Laboratory and at Iowa State in 2005. His expertise includes catalysis, organometallic and polymer chemistry, and rare earth chemistry.

The Center for Catalysis and Surface Science (CCSS) monthly meetings host speakers, as well as provide tutorials, research updates, and facilitate team collaboration. 

The mission of the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science (CCSS) is to promote interdisciplinary research fundamental to the discovery, synthesis, and understanding of catalysts and catalytic reactions essential to modern society. As a part of the Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy, CCSS applies fundamental advances in catalysis science towards applications in alternative fuels, abatement of harmful emissions, resource recovery concepts, new processing routes, and many other strategies towards making chemicals more sustainable.

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