Date of Completion


Embargo Period



UCT mesoporous materials, sol-gel synthesis, catalysis, adsorption

Major Advisor

Steven L. Suib

Associate Advisor

Yu Lei

Associate Advisor

Mu-Ping Nieh

Associate Advisor

Luyi Sun

Associate Advisor

Kelly Burke

Field of Study

Chemical Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Mesoporous materials have been widely used in redesigning commercially important processes for environmental and economic considerations. They have demonstrated great advantages in providing well-controlled surface area, pore size and volume, and nanocrystalline walls. Compared with microporous materials, they present improvement in molecular mass transfer, thus allowing larger reactant molecules involved in the reaction systems. This study focuses on the synthesis of University of Connecticut (UCT) mesoporous materials by the state-of-the-art sol-gel based inversed micelle method. Modification and optimization of the catalyst structural properties, such as surface area, pore size and volume, crystallinity, and phase were achieved by tuning the synthesis conditions, such as heating rate, calcination temperature and atmosphere, and dopant amount. The synthesized mesoporous materials have been applied as catalysts, catalyst supports, and adsorbents in several catalysis and adsorption processes. Particularly, (1) mesoporous iron oxides of different phases were synthesized as Fenton catalysts in orange II degradation in the presence of oxidant H2O2 at a neutral pH under visible light; (2) magnetic mesoporous iron oxide supports were developed for synthesizing magnetically recyclable palladium incorporated catalysts in nitrobenzene hydrogenation under mild conditions; (3) mesoporous aluminosilicates were fabricated and optimized as effective adsorbents for siloxane removal from biogas derived from anaerobic digestion of sludge. Overall, the mesoporous materials have satisfied the specific purposes of different projects involved in this study, with adjustable structure, excellent catalytic activity/adsorption capacity, and good recyclability and stability.