Professor of Chemistry, University of Guelph
Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada
NSERC / UNENE Senior Industrial Research Chair
+1 519-824-4120 x56076
- Physical chemistry of ions and organic solutes in very high temperature water.
- Origins of Life / Prebiotic Chemistry: Amino acids and nucleic acids under deep-ocean hydrothermal vent conditions.
- CANDU Nuclear reactor chemistry: the next generation of reactors.
- Thermal power generation, carbon capture, and hydrogen co-generation.
Current Graduate and Postdoctoral Opportunities
We have current openings for graduate students with strong backgrounds in physical chemistry, analytical chemistry or chemical physics and a solid record of academic performance. Experimental geochemistry or chemical engineering may also be considered.
Overview of the Hydrothermal Chemistry Group
Summary of Research Interests
Many geological and industrial processes take place at conditions far beyond the range of conventional room temperature measurements. The objective of research in the hydrothermal chemistry group is to develop the knowledge base and theoretical understanding needed to describe the behaviour of aqueous systems at extremes of temperature and pressure, and to apply these results to fundamental problems encountered in electrical power stations, nuclear reactors, geothermal ore bodies, deep-ocean hydrothermal vents, and carbon capture/sequestration.
Sensitive flow calorimeters, densitometers and AC conductance cells, constructed of inert materials to withstand the corrosive conditions, are used to determine the thermodynamic properties of simple electrolytes and organic molecules in liquid water at temperatures up to 400 deg C and pressures as high as 300 atm, to examine the effects of ionic charge and organic functional groups under conditions approaching the critical point of water. The form of the chemical species, and their equilibrium constants at high temperature and pressure, are being determined by conductance methods, and by UV-visible and Raman spectroscopy in flow systems with sapphire windows or in diamond anvil cells. Spectroscopic, heat capacity and volumetric studies on metal complexes with ammonia, halides and chelating agents provide data and models to describe the temperature dependence of transition metal complexation and chelation equilibria. Some of our MSc and PhD projects can be co-op or international exchange.
The novelty in the work lies in the very extreme conditions being studied, the potential for identifying unusual effects, and the need to develop specialised instrumental techniques to obtain quantitative data for multi-component aqueous systems under these very aggressive conditions.