ME PhD student Rachel Schwind has been selected to receive the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) award. The award is for the proposed SCGSR research project, “An Experimental Investigation of Elementary Reactions of Siloxane Pyrolysis”, to be conducted at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL).
The selection of Rachel Schwind for the SCGSR award is in recognition of outstanding academic accomplishments and the merit of the SCGSR research proposal and reflects Rachel Schwind’s potential to advance the Ph.D. studies and make important contributions to the mission of the DOE Office of Science.
The abstract for the project reads as follows: "As the energy sector continues to diversify fuel feed stocks in order to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions, the use of biogas continues to increase. Simultaneously, organic silicon compounds, especially siloxane species, are being used in industrial products with increasing frequency and their use is expected to continue to rise. When these products are discarded, the siloxane compounds make their way into landfills and can become a part of the captured gas. Siloxanes present in the biogas and syngas have multiple important effects, impacting reaction pathways for heat release and leading to the formation of inorganic nanoparticles of silica (SiO2). These effects and the lack of understanding around them currently inhibits the widespread use of biogas. The goal of the proposed shock tube study is to identify and quantify the decomposition reaction pathways for key siloxane species. The compounds of interest are directly relevant to the compounds found in biogases and they represent specific chemical structures that will enable developing reaction rate rules for classes of species. Thus, the experiments will provide both direct measurements of decomposition rates and the ability to extrapolate the results to other species."