Christian Clausen and his colleagues develop new, environmentally-friendly materials, and they synthesize novel catalytic agents, which help destroy toxic material already in existence. In one project, Clausen and Cherie L. Geiger developed catalytic active emulsion systems that are capable of removing and destroying PCBs from painted surfaces. PCB stands for Polychlorinated biphenyls. They are a cocktail of chemicals, first created in the 1920’s, that were used in the manufacturing process of numerous items: from electronics to paints. In the 1970’s, PCBs were linked to environmental and medical problems-including cancer in humans-and were consequently discontinued. Today, PCBs are illegal to produce, but many older products (such as rocket launch platforms and navy ships) contain PCBs and are still in use. Using nano-sized iron and magnesium particles in a special process, Clausen and Geiger found a way to safely breakdown the PCBs in materials without harming any of the surrounding structures.
In addition to these catalytic active emulsion systems, Clausen and his colleagues have also synthesized new environmentally-safe materials for use as screening aerosols against smart weapons in the infrared and millimeter wavelength regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. They developed a catalytic reactive emulsion system capable of in situ dehalogenation of chlorinated hydrocarbons in contaminated soils and sediments. They created new nanometer-sized catalyst systems that can be used with current green chemistry industrial chemical processes, and have developed of new, high-efficient catalytic systems that reduce air pollutants emitted by stationary power sources that use hydrocarbons and coal energy sources.
Most notably, Clausen’s laboratory had outlined many new processes, such as a methodology for using Mössbauer Spectroscopy to measure the elctronegativity of functional groups in inorganic coordination complexes, a process for using hydrogen peroxide to reduce volatile organic compounds and NOx emissions, and a process for using ultrasound to regenerate the activity of permeable reactive barriers.
- C. D. Cooper, C. A. Clausen, III, L. Pettey, M. Collins, M. Fernandez. “Investigation of Ultraviolet Light-Enhanced Hydrogen Peroxide Oxidation of NOx Emissions,” Journal of Environmental Engineering, Vol. 129, pp68-72, 2003.
- Geiger, C. L., N. Ruiz, C. A. Clausen, D. R. Reinhart, and J. Quinn. “Ultrasound Pretreatment of Iron Metal: Kinetic Studies and Surface Effects.” Water Research, Journal of the International Association on Water Quality. 36(5): 1342-1350,2002
- Geiger, C.L., Clausen, C. A., Quinn, J., Clausen, C. M., Filipek, L., Reinhart, D. R., Krug, T., O’Hara, S., Major, D. “Reductive Dehalogenation of DNAPLs Using Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron.” in: Surfactant and Other Chemical Based Treatments for DNAPL Remediation. Battelle Press, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2002.
- Geiger, C. L., C. A. Clausen, D. R. Reinhart, J. Quinn, T. Krug, and D. Major. “Nanoscale and Microscale Iron Emulsions for Treating DNAPL.” Submitted for publication in: Innovative Strategies for the Remediation of Chlorinated Solvents and DNAPL in the Subsurface. ACS Books, Washington D.C., July 2003.
- Reinhart, D., C. Clausen, G. Geiger, J. Quinn, K. Brooks. Zero-Valent Metal Emulsion for Reductive Dehalogenation of DNAPLS. U.S. Patent No.6, 664, 298 B1 (2003)
- Quinn, J.W., Ruiz, N.E., Reinhart, D.R., Geiger, C.L., Clausen, C.A., Enhancement of Zero-Valent Metal Treatment of Contaminated Groundwater by the Use of Ultrasound, US Patent No. 6,013,232. (2001)
Students working in my laboratory have the opportunity to conduct research on projects that begin with an idea for a new improved chemical process or useful material, carry-out the necessary experiments to synthesize and characterize the new materials, gather data from the processes and interact with other disciplines in the process of technology transfer. After conducting laboratory experiment on the new material systems, field demonstration experiments are then conducted. These projects most often lead to the student giving several presentations at national and international meetings, being co-author on several publications and being co-inventor on a patent.