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Workshop / Seminar

CHE 598 Seminar: Is It Catalysis Or Not? A Self-Study On The Fundamentals of Para-Orthohydrogen Conversion

Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE), NE Troy Lane, Pullman, WA 99164
Pullman Campus: CUE 114 | Tri-Cities Campus: TFLO 256
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About the event

Dr. Jacob Leachman, Associate Professor, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, WSU

Jacob Leachman is an Associate Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University (WSU). He initiated the Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Center at WSU in 2010 to advance cryogenic and/or hydrogen systems. To this day the HYPER Center remains the only US academic laboratory focusing on cryogenic hydrogen. He earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2005 and a M.S. degree in 2007 from the University of Idaho. His master’s thesis has been adopted as the foundation for hydrogen fueling standards and custody exchange, in addition to winning the Western Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Thesis Award for 2008. He completed his Ph.D. in the Cryogenic Engineering Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 under the advice of John Pfotenhauer and Greg Nellis. He is the lead author of the reference texts “Thermodynamic Properties of Cryogenic Fluids: 2nd Edition” and “Cool Fuel: The Science and Engineering of Cryogenic Hydrogen” which is in development. In 2018 he received the Roger W. Boom Award from the Cryogenic Society of America.

As Humanity continues to look towards not only net zero, but true zero-carbon-emissions fuels, interest in hydrogen has returned. Once hailed as “the greatest scientific discovery of 1929,” ortho-parahydrogen separation and conversion remains a scientific curiosity that once enamored the likes of Einstein, Heisenberg, and Wigner, among others. This quantum mechanical phenomenon is the largest effective phase change at cryogenic temperatures, however, no engineers have developed cycles that can utilize this property unique to hydrogen. Although several reviews have been completed on this topic over the years, there seems to be little consensus on some of the reaction fundamentals. In this talk I’ll cover the basics of ortho-parahydrogen thermophysical properties, approaches for composition measurement, natural versus ‘catalyzed’ conversion, and conclude with opportunities for collaboration.