Skip navigation

W. Nicholas Delgass

Maxine Spencer Nichols Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering

FRNY 1148
Purdue University
Davidson 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

Though now Emeritus, Professor Delgass continues to collaborate with catalysis colleagues and their students. His long-standing interest in heterogeneous catalysis is aimed at understanding the surface chemical origins of catalytic activity and using fundamental knowledge gained from analysis of chemical kinetics, detailed surface chemical characterization and quantum-level theory in a model-based process called Discovery Informatics for the design and discovery of catalysts. Quantitative chemical kinetic evaluation comes from steady state reaction and transient isotopic tracing data, while a variety of spectroscopic measurements yield details of the catalyst chemistry. X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopy, for example, gives a quantitative chemical analysis of catalyst surfaces, and infrared spectroscopy reveals further details of the chemical state of the surface and the bonding of adsorbed species. Dehydrogenation and subsequent oligomerization of alkanes (CISTAR web site), partial oxidation of propylene to propylene oxide, catalysis by zeolites, and the water gas shift reaction are catalytic systems of current interest.

The work is 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

  • (No independent research group)
  • Cory Milligan (co-advised with Fabio Ribeiro)
  • Garrett Mitchell (with Fabio Ribeiro and Volkan Ortalan)
  • Taufik Ridha (with Fabio Ribeiro and Rakesh Agrawal)
  • Abhijit Talpade (with Fabio Ribeiro and Rakesh Agrawal)

Awards and Honors

R.N. Shreve Teaching Award, Purdue School of Chemical Engineering, 1983, 1986, 1989,1991, 2000, 2002, and 2007.
Michigan Catalysis Society Giuseppe Parravano Memorial Award for Excellence in Catalysis Research, 1985.
ASEE AT&T Foundation Award, 1990.
Purdue Schools of Engineering Dean A.A. Potter Teaching Award, 1990.
Purdue University Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in memory of Charles B. Murphy, 2003.
Fellow of the Purdue Teaching Academy and entered into the Purdue University Book of Great Teachers, 2003.
Purdue Schools of Engineering Mentoring Excellence Award, 2003; Team Award, 2007.
New York Catalysis Society Excellence in Catalysis Award, 2006.
Inaugural North American Catalysis Society Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Catalysis, 2011.
American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) R. H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering, 2012.
Elected Fellow of the AIChE, 2013.
Catalysis Club of Chicago Herman Pines Award in Catalysis, 2013.
Honeywell UOP Vladimir Haensel Lecture, 2015
Honorary Chair of the 26th North American Catalysis Society Meeting, 2019.

Selected Publications

"Interaction Between two Active Sites of the Same Catalyst for Macromonomer Enchained Olefin Polymerization," T. Gunasekara, J. Kim, S. Xiong, A. Preston, D. K. Steelman, G. Medvedev, W. N. Delgass, J. M. Caruthers, and M. Abu-Omar, Macromolecules, 50, 9151-9161 (2017).

"Participation of Interfacial Hydroxyl Groups in the Water-Gas Shift Reaction over Au/MgO Catalysts," Y. Cui, Z. Li, Z. Zhao, V. J. Cybulskis, K. Sabnis, C. W. Han, V. Ortalan, W. F. Schnieder, J. P. Greeley, W. N. Delgass, F. H. Ribeiro, Catalysis Science and Technology, 7, 5257-5266 (2017).

"Steric and Solvation Effects on Polymerization Kinetics, Dormancy, and Tacticity of Zr-Salan Catalysts," A. Preston, J. Kim, G. Medvedev, W. N. Delgass, J. M. Caruthers, and M. Abu-Omar, Organomatallics, 36, 2237-2244 (2017).

"Initial Products and Reaction Mechanisms for Fast Pyrolysis of Synthetic G-Lignin Oligomers with beta-O-4 Linkages via On-Line Mass Sepctrometry and Quantum Chemical Calculations," H. Sheng, P. Murria, J. C. Degenstein, W.J. Tang, J. S. Reideman, M. Hurt, A. Dow, I. Klein, H. Zhu, J. Nash, M. Abu-Omar, R. Agrawal, W. N. Delgass, F. H. Ribeiro, H. Kenttamaa, ChemistrySelect, 2, 7185-7193 (2017).

"Dynamic Multinulear Sites formed by Moblized Copper Ions in NOx Selective Catalytic Reduction," C. Pauolucci, I. Khurana, A. A. Parekh, S. Li, A. Shih, H. Li, J. Di Orio, J. Albartracin-Caballero, A. Yezerets, J. T. Miller, W. N. Delgass, F. H. Ribeiro, W. F. Schneider, and R. Gounder, Science, 357, 898-903 (2017).

"Adsorption energy Correlations at the Metal-Support Boundary," P. Mehta, J. P. Greeley, W. N. Delgass, and W. F. Schneider, ACS Catalysis, 7, 4707-4715 (2017).

"Water Activation and Carbon Monoxide Coverage Effects on Maximum Rates for Low Temperature Water-Gas Shift Catalysis," W. D. Williams, J. P. Greeley; W. N. Delgass, and F. H. Ribeiro, J. Catal., 347, 197-204 (2017).

"Importance of Metal-Oxide Interfaces in Water-Gas Shift Chemistry: A Combined DFT, Microkinetic, and Experimental Study on Au/MgO," Z.-J. Zhao, Z. Li, Y. Cui, H. Zhu, W. F. Schneider, W. N. Delgass, F. H. Ribeiro, J. P. Greeley, J. Catal., 345, 157-169 (2017).

"The Nature of the Isolated Gallium Active Center for Propane Dehydrogenation on Ga/SiO2," V. J. Cibulskis, S. U. Pradhan, J. J. Lovon-Quintana, A. S. Hock, B. Hu, G. Zhang, W. N. Delgass, F. H. Ribeiro, J. T. Miller, Catalysis Letters, 147, 1252-1262 (2017).

"High-Pressure Vapor-Phase Hydrodeoxygenation of Lignin-Derived Oxygenates to Hydrocarbons by a PtMo Bimetallic Catalyst: Product Selectivity, Reaction Pathway, and Structural Characterization," S. L. Yohe, H. J. Choudhari, D. D. Mehta, P. J. Dietrich, M. D. Detwiler, C. M. Akatay, E. A. Stach, J. T. Miller, W. N. Delgass, R. Agrawal, and F. H. Ribeiro, J. Catal., 344, 535-552 (2016).

"Isotopic Transient Studies of Sodium Promotion of Pt/Al2O3 for the Water-Gas Shift Reaction," V. J. Cybulskis, J. Wang, J. H. Pazmino, F. H. Ribeiro, W. N. Delgass, J. Catal., 339, 163-172 (2016).