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Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and Energy and Petroleum
University of Wyoming
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering & Energy and Petroleum Engineering
1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
Heterogeneous Reaction Kinetics, Applied Thermodynamics, Solution Mining and Processing of Trona, Synthetic Fuels from Coal
Current and Proposed Research
Currently our research efforts are focused primarily on trona-related work.
Trona is a naturally occurring mineral mined in the southwestern corner of the state and is a major source of soda ash and other sodium-based chemicals marketed throughout the world. It consists of roughly 90% by weight sodium sesquicarbonate, Na2CO3.NaHCO3. 2H2 O, with the balance insoluble dolomite shale and traces of soluble impurities.
Trona Equation of State
An ongoing project is the development of an Equation of State (EOS) for trona solutions that will allow the engineer to compute solubilities and virtually any thermodynamics properties as a function of temperature, pressure and composition. The basis of the EOS is Pitzer's Ion Interaction theory. The project involves the writing of computer code and laboratory experiments supporting the parameterization of the model at elevated temperatures.
Mathematical Model for Trona Solution Mining
A second project is the revision of a predictive mathematical model for trona solution mining. The goal is to remove many restrictive assumptions from a current model. The model involves solutions to a complex multicomponent mass transfer problem coupled with an energy balance. A problem involving density-driven free convection in large cavities needs to be addressed both theoretically and experimentally. Also, experimental measurements of dissolution rates are needed under conditions that favor "bicarbonate blinding".
Wet Calcination of Trona
The "wet calcination" of trona and other solutions of sodium bicarbonate is also being investigated as a replacement for conventional dry calcination.
Other Proposed Projects
Other projects potentially of interest involve the development of an economical means for recovery of sodium-based flue gas desulfurization wastes, and the removal of volatile organic compounds from dilute air streams.