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Chemical engineering undergrad wins top award at professional conference
By Colleen Carow

ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 31, 2011) -- Chemical and biomolecular engineering undergraduate Linchong Mai recently won second place in the student poster competition at the 220th Electrochemical Society Meeting. It is the first time an undergraduate placed in the competition.

ChBe student Linchong Mai IMG_0158In collaboration with faculty adviser Gerardine Botte, Russ Professor, and Damilola Daramola, graduate student mentor, Mai competed with students from universities around the world at the meeting was in Boston, Mass., Oct. 9-14.

Mai’s poster, "Studies on the Bulk Reactions during Ammonia Oxidation," was part of research on converting ammonia to hydrogen for use in power generation, and how to speed up the reaction in the presence of a metal catalyst. The conversion of ammonia occurs on the surface of the metal, but looking closely at how that process interacts with water molecules gives is paramount understanding overall picture of the ammonia conversion process.

Mai was able to use computational chemistry to study the interactions between water molecules and the molecules formed during the conversion of ammonia.

According to Daramola, Mai previously presented the study at Ohio University’s Research and Creative Activity Expo, as well as at the regional meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

“Lingchong was able to make the project his own and showed tremendous improvement on his ability to convey the significance of the study performed and its relevance to current energy issues,” Daramola noted. “The judges of the competition noted that he showed great poise and understanding – especially for an undergraduate student,” he added.

Mai’s accompanying talk was called "A computational study on the effect of water molecules on uncatalyzed ammonia oxidation."

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