Thatcher W Root

Professor

3008 Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Ph: (608) 262-8999
Fax: (608) 262-1267
thatcher@engr.wisc.edu


Profile Summary

NMR spectroscopy also addresses other key issues in chemical engineering fields. In collaboration with Emeritus Professor Edwin N. Lightfoot, we are characterizing diffusion in porous media and examining adsorption, desorption and motion of proteins to understand behavior of molecules in chromatographic columns during separations of bioengineered products.By using appropriate labeled molecules, adsorption and diffusion are monitored in porous media with NMR spectroscopy while magnetic resonance imaging shows concentration and velocity profiles inside packed columns. A new initiative is a Graduate Research Training program in Catalyst Design for Environmentally Benign Manufacturing, conducted jointly with Professors Dumesic,Hill and Swaney. These projects focus on development of new catalytic processes and processing strategies to generate desirable products while reducing or eliminating adverse environmental impact. One such project is investigating alternative, chlorine-free reaction schemes for producing isocyanates, which are key ingredients in production of widely-used polyurethanes. A second focuses on design of framework-substituted zeolites that can catalyze partial oxidation reactions using hydrogen peroxide. Areas of ongoing investigation include the activity, stability, and mechanism of Cu-zeolite catalysts for automobile NOx emission control, catalyst poisons and promoters, acid site strength and character,and the use of NMR as an in situ reaction probe for concentrations and intermediates. These investigations range from idealized, well-characterized model catalyst systems to commercial reaction systems with immediate industrial importance. The principal theme of our research is developing an understanding on a microscopic level of reactions on surfaces and interactions at interfaces. Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is emerging as a technique for examining adsorbates on surfaces, giving both structural information and kinetic parameters. Using it in conjunction with other catalyst characterization techniques, we have a powerful combination for attacking basic problems in surface chemistry.

Education

  • S.B. (Chemistry), S.B. (Chemical Engineering), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Research Interests

  • surface chemistry
  • catalysis
  • diffusion in porous media
  • solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Awards, Honors and Societies

  • NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1987)

Publications

  • \\\"Refining the Scale-up of Chromatographic Separations,\\\"(with F.G. Lode,A. Rosenfeld, Q.S. Yuan, and E.N.Lightfoot), Journal of Chromatography A, 796 3 (1998).
  • \\\"Protein Diffusion in Porous Chromatographic Media Studied by Proton and Fluorine PFG-NMR,\\\"(with J.L. Coffman and E.N. Lightfoot), Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 101 2218 (1997).
  • \\\"Refining the Description of Protein Chromatography,\\\" (with E.N. Lightfoot,J.L. Coffman, F. Lode, Q.S. Yuan and T.W. Perkins), Journal of Chromatography A, 760 139 (1997).
  • \\\"Morphological Studies of Lightly-Sulfonated Polystyrene using 23Na NMR: Effects of Polydispersity in Molecular Weight,\\\" (with E.M. O\\\'Connell and S.L. Cooper),Macromolecules, 29 2124 (1996).
  • \\\"Microcalorimetric and Infrared Spectroscopic Studies of CO, C2H4,N2O, and O2 on Cu-Y Zeolite,\\\" (with G.D. Borgard, S. Molvig, P. Balaraman and J.A. Dumesic), Langmuir, 11 2065 (1995).
  • \\\"Deuterium NMR Characterization of Br´┐Żnsted Acid Sites and Silanol Species in Zeolites,\\\" (with J.M. Kobe, T.J.Gluszak and J.A. Dumesic), Journal of Physical Chemistry, 99 5485 (1995).

Courses

Fall 2014-2015

  • CBE 890 - Pre-Dissertator\'s Research
  • CBE 790 - Master\'s Research or Thesis
  • CBE 599 - Special Problems
  • CBE 562 - Special Topics in Chemical Engineering
  • CBE 489 - Honors in Research
  • CBE 555 - Seminar-Chemical Engineering Connections
  • Profile Summary

    NMR spectroscopy also addresses other key issues in chemical engineering fields. In collaboration with Emeritus Professor Edwin N. Lightfoot, we are characterizing diffusion in porous media and examining adsorption, desorption and motion of proteins to understand behavior of molecules in chromatographic columns during separations of bioengineered products.By using appropriate labeled molecules, adsorption and diffusion are monitored in porous media with NMR spectroscopy while magnetic resonance imaging shows concentration and velocity profiles inside packed columns. A new initiative is a Graduate Research Training program in Catalyst Design for Environmentally Benign Manufacturing, conducted jointly with Professors Dumesic,Hill and Swaney. These projects focus on development of new catalytic processes and processing strategies to generate desirable products while reducing or eliminating adverse environmental impact. One such project is investigating alternative, chlorine-free reaction schemes for producing isocyanates, which are key ingredients in production of widely-used polyurethanes. A second focuses on design of framework-substituted zeolites that can catalyze partial oxidation reactions using hydrogen peroxide. Areas of ongoing investigation include the activity, stability, and mechanism of Cu-zeolite catalysts for automobile NOx emission control, catalyst poisons and promoters, acid site strength and character,and the use of NMR as an in situ reaction probe for concentrations and intermediates. These investigations range from idealized, well-characterized model catalyst systems to commercial reaction systems with immediate industrial importance. The principal theme of our research is developing an understanding on a microscopic level of reactions on surfaces and interactions at interfaces. Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is emerging as a technique for examining adsorbates on surfaces, giving both structural information and kinetic parameters. Using it in conjunction with other catalyst characterization techniques, we have a powerful combination for attacking basic problems in surface chemistry.


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