Research in hydrothermal processing of inorganic materials at McGill comprises both hydrometallurgical processes and aqueous chemical processing of advanced materials. Research in this area is carried out under the direction of Professor George Demopoulos.
Current research activities span from pressure and chloride hydrometallurgy to aqueous precipitation and crystallization, and environmental applications to electrochemical energy materials. Of particular note are the projects focusing on:
- the regeneration of HCl from chloride solutions via hydrothermal processing and/or reactive crystallization;
- the development and study of new environmental technologies for the immobilization of pollutants like arsenic and selenium.
- the synthesis and fabrication of nanostructured thin film titania electrodes for dye-sensitized solar cell applications.
- the hydrothermal synthesis and electrochemical testing of nanoscale Li-ion battery materials.
Typically, a research involves the study of the associated solution chemistry (complexation, solubilities and activities both via experimentation and chemical modelling), determination of precipitation/crystallization kinetics in batch and/or continuous reactor set-ups, or electrochemical deposition; extensive characterization of precipitated-synthesized-deposited phases (SEM, TEM, XRD, FTIR, Raman, BET, TGA XPS etc); and if applicable, performance property assessment (such as chemical stability for immobilized pollutants, or electrochemical performance for battery or solar cell materials).