W. Nicholas Delgass

Maxine Spencer Nichols Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering

FRNY 2164
Purdue University
School of Chemical Engineering
Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100
(765) 494-4059 (office)
(765) 494-0805 (fax)
Joined Purdue in 1974
B.S. University of Michigan, 1964
M.S. Stanford University, 1966
Ph.D Stanford University, 1969

Research Interests

The goal of Professor Delgass' research in heterogeneous catalysis is to understand the surface chemical origins of catalytic activity and to use that fundamental knowledge in a process called Discovery Informatics for the design of catalysts. Steady state reaction and transient isotopic tracing provide quantitative chemical kinetic evaluation of catalytic performance, while spectroscopic measurements yield details of the chemistry of catalytic surfaces. X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy gives a quantitative chemical analysis of catalyst surfaces prepared in situ. Solid state NMR and infrared spectroscopy reveal further details of the chemical state of the surface and the bonding of adsorbed species. Discovery Informatics is a framework that enables management of complexity, accumulation of knowledge, systematic testing of hypotheses by interaction with experiments, and the efficient search for new materials with desired performance characteristics. Four chemical engineering professors at Purdue have teamed together to apply this methodology to catalyst design. The approach uses high quality experiments and quantum level theory to gain information on catalyst performance and chemistry and then uses a variety of systems tools to guide and execute building models that capture catalytic knowledge and discover new catalysts. Partial oxidation of propylene to propylene oxide, acid catalysis by zeolites, the water gas shift reaction, and hydrodeoxygenation of biomass derived molecules are catalytic systems of current interest.

Biomass to Liquid Fuels Website

We are a part of the Purdue Catalysis Center, which fosters interaction among faculty and students in catalysis research groups by collaborating on research projects, sharing resources and facilities, and holding weekly joint group meetings.

Research Group

Graduate Students

  • Yanran Cui (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Viktor Cybulskis (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • John Degenstein (co-advised with Fabio Rebeiro and Rakesh Agrawal)
  • Michael Detwiler (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Emre Gencer (co-advised with Fabio Rebeiro and Rakesh Agrawal)
  • James Harris (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Hyuanchang Kim (co-advised with James Caruthers)
  • Ishant Khurana (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Dhairya Mehta (co-advised with Fabio Rebeiro and Rakesh Agrawal)
  • Cory Milligan (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Atish Parekh (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Shankali Pradhan (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Taufik Ridha (co-advised with Fabio Rebeiro and Rakesh Agrawal)
  • Kaiwalya Sabnis (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Arthur Shih (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro and Rajamani Gounder)
  • Ian Smith (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Silei Xiong (co-advised with James Caruthers)

Awards and Honors

Giuseppe Parravano Memorial Award for Excellence in Catalysis Research, Michigan Catalysis Society, 1985.
AT&T Foundation Award of the ASEE 1990.
2003 Purdue University Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in memory of Charles B. Murphy.
Dean A.A. Potter Teaching Award, Purdue, Schools of Engineering, 1990.
R.N. Shreve Teaching Award, Purdue School of Chemical Engineering, 1983, 1986, 1989,1991, 2000 and 2002.
Purdue Schools of Engineering Mentoring Excellence Award 2003.
New York Catalysis Society Excellence in Catalysis Award, 2006
Inaugural North American Catalysis Society (NACS) Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Catalysis, 2010

Selected Publications

“Metallic Pt as Active Sites for the Water-Gas Shift Reaction on Alkali-Promoted Supported Catalysts,” J. H. Pazmi?o, M. Shekhar, W. D. Williams, M. C. Akatay, J. T. Miller, W. N. Delgass, and F. H. Ribeiro, Journal of Catalysis, 286, 279–286 (2012)

“Aqueous Phase Glycerol Reforming by PtMo Bimetallic Nano-particle Catalyst: Product Selectivity and Structural Characterization,” P. J. Dietrich, R. J. Lobo-Lapidus, T. Wu, A. Sumer, M. C. Akatay, B. R. Fingland, N. Guo, J. A. Dumesic, C. L. Marshall, E. Stach, J. Jellinek, W. N. Delgass, F. H. Ribeiro, and J. T. Miller, Catalysis Today, 55, 53–69 (2012)

“Size and Support Effects for the Water-Gas Shift Catalysis over Gold Nanoparticles Supported on Model Al2O3 and TiO2” M. Shekhar, J. Wang, W-S. Lee, W. D. Williams, S. M. Kim, E. A. Stach, J. T. Miller, W. N. Delgass, and F. H. Ribeiro, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134, 4700-4708 (2012)

“Integrated Operando X-ray Absorption and DFT Characterization of Cu−SSZ-13 Exchange Sites During The Selective Catalytic Reduction of NOx with NH3” J.-S. McEwen, T. Anggara, W. F. Schneider, V. F. Kispersky, J. T. Miller, W. N. Delgass, and F. H. Ribeiro, Catalysis Today, in press (2012)

“Determination of the Au Active Site and Surface Active Species via Operando Transmission FTIR and Isotopic Transient Experiments on 2.3 wt% Au/TiO2 for the WGS Reaction,” J. Wang, V. F. Kispersky, W. N. Delgass, and F. H. Ribeiro, Journal of Catalysis, 289, 171–178 (2012)

“Counting Au Catalytic Sites for the Water–Gas Shift Reaction,” M. Shekhar, J. Wang, W-S. Lee, M. C. Akatay, E. A. Stach, W. N. Delgass, and F. H. Ribeiro, Journal of Catalysis, 293, 94–102 (2012)

“Reproducible Preparation of Au/TS-1 with High Reaction Rate for Gas Phase Epoxidation of Propylene,” W-S. Lee, M. C. Akatay, E. A. Stach, F. H. Ribeiro, and W. N. Delgass, Journal of Catalysis, in press (2012)

“Determination of the Catalytic Sites for Ziegler Natta Homo-Polymerization from GPC Data,” S. V. Maddipati, W. N. Delgass, J. M. Caruthers, Macromolecular Theory and Simulations, 20, 31-45 (2011)

“Kinetic studies of the stability of Pt for NO oxidation: Effect of sulfur and long term aging,” J. H. Pazmi?o, S. S. Mulla, J. T. Miller, W. N. Delgass, and F. H. Ribeiro, J. Catal., 282, 13–24 (2011)

“Formation and Removal of Ba-Carbonates or Carboxylates on Pt/BaO/ -Al2O3 Lean NOx Traps,” S. S. Chaugule, V. F. Kispersky, J. L. Ratts, A. Yezerets, N. W. Currier, F. H. Ribeiro, and W. N. Delgass, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 107, 26-33 (2011)

“Differences in Catalytic Sites for CO Oxidation and Propylene Epoxidation on Au Nanoparticles,” W-S. Lee, R. Zhang, M. C. Akatay, C. Baertsch, E. Stach, F. H. Ribeiro, and N. W. Delgass, ACS Catalysis, 1, 1327–1330 (2011)