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Faculty and Staff

Department of Chemistry

Brian Leonard

Associate Professor
Inorganic and Materials Chemistry

BS, 2003, University of Nebraska at Kearney
Ph.D. 2008, Texas A&M University
Postdoctoral Scientist, 2008-2010, Cornell University


bleonar5@uwyo.edu • (307) 766-4137 • PS 410

 

My research program primarily focuses on inorganic materials chemistry. We are investigating materials for fuel cell applications with the goal of developing new materials that are not only cheaper and more robust than current catalysts, but also more active toward the fuel cell reactions. The most commonly used fuel cell catalyst material is platinum nanoparticles. In addition to being quite expensive, platinum has several problems when used in fuel cells including poisoning, particle agglomeration, and dissolution. In my group, we are investigating bimetallic carbides as alternative catalyst materials that will not only reduce the cost of the fuel cells by eliminating some or all of the precious metals, but also improve the efficiency and stability of the catalyst and improve its resistance to poisoning. Carbides are well known to be conducting and chemically stable in acidic environments that are present in fuel cells and have been reported to exhibit Pt like chemical reactivates and electronic properties making them ideal candidates for elctrocatalyst materials. We are synthesizing bimetallic carbides using a variety of techniques, and are interested in mechanistic studies of these reactions which will allow the development of a general synthesis scheme with precise composition and size control. This will give us access to hundreds of different multimetallic carbides nanoparticles which can be then tested as fuel cell catalysts.

 


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