In the production of nanostructured catalyst materials, controlling key process parameters is essential to engineering the characteristics and performance of the resulting particles. However, the effects of processing conditions on the chemical and physical properties of the resulting catalytic materials are often poorly understood and are largely empirical. In order to engineer catalysts using rational optimization, carefully prepared controls for comparison must be developed. This need, in turn, necessitates a processing method capable of lending fine control over key process parameters.
The objective of this work is to reproducibly synthesize uniform, nanostructured particles via gas phase methods such that meaningful correlations between processing parameters and chemical and physical properties can be identified. To this end, several benchtop continuous aerosol flow reactors using high frequency ultrasonic nebulizers have been designed, built, and tested, and provide an inherently scalable platform for material production. Such platforms improve upon trial-and-error approaches by enabling fine control over key processing parameters, including residence time, temperature, reactor configuration, and precursor type and composition, allowing the effects of such parameters on catalyst material properties to be determined rationally. This presentation will report on the correlations between reactor design and resulting catalytic performance that facilitate rational heterogeneous catalyst development with a focus on achieving desired catalyst activity and performance.