Laboratory for Applied Nitrogen Chemistry at Purdue University
Fundamental high-nitrogen compound chemistry
Development of new methodology for the synthesis of high nitrogen compounds. While organic chemistry has given us many synthetic tools for the formation of C-C bonds and high-carbon molecules, the field of high-nitrogen chemistry is comparably neglected. We develop new methodology for forming nitrogen-nitrogen bonds and making high nitrogen heterocycles. We also have a focus on synthetic methodology which is environmentally-sustainable such as electrochemistry and have multiple active projects dedicated to high-nitrogen electrochemistry.
Nitrogen-rich compounds due to their high heats of formation can find application for energetic materials such as propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics. We investigate the synthesis, safety, and performances of new energetic materials for use as new and improved propellants and explosives. This can be within the context of higher performances than materials out there currently, syntheses that are scalable and environmentally friendly, or other targeted applications. We also look at the structure property relationship of high-nitrogen energetic materials in order to tune the sensitivity and performance of these materials. We are also active in improving the syntheses of new designer energetics to enable adoption through lower synthesis costs.
Plasma fixation of nitrogen
The Haber-Bosch process is one of the most important industrial chemistry processes in the world where it produces 90% of the world's ammonia from the high temperature high pressure reaction of hydrogen with nitrogen. It has been estimated to feed 40% of the world's population via ammonia fertilizers and it has been stated that it is the most important invention of the 20th century. Unfortunately, it consumes 1 to 2% of global energy production per year, emits a large amount of carbon dioxide and is not compatible with intermittent renewable energy sources. Plasma based nitrogen fixation is particularly interesting alternative because it can offer operate at more benign conditions, function from intermittent energy sources and can be decentralized in small scale plants. We study the use of plasmas of various types to fix atmospheric nitrogen into various products
Non-energetic high nitrogen materials applications
Our background in stabilizing/destabilizing high-nitrogen compounds for energetics purposes has allowed us to create nitrogen-based materials of various sensitivities. Lessons from energetics design mean we are now creating high-nitrogen materials for application in various areas from cancer therapeutics to catalysts