Yanran Cui

Graduate Research Assistant

Co-advised by Professors Fabio Ribeiro and W. Nicholas Delgass

Professional Networks



Beihang University, B.S. Applied Chemistry (2006 - 2010)
Purdue University, Ph.D. Chemical Engineering (2011 - present)


  • Beijing Outstanding Bachelor Graduate (2010)
  • Guanghua Scholarship for Outstanding Academics in Undergraduates (2009)
  • First Prize, Schlumberger Scholarship (2008)
  • Outstanding Volunteer in 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games (2008)

Project Description

Currently, I’m focusing on:

  • the kinetics of water-gas shift reaction (WGS) on Au supported on different oxide supports
  • the active sites and metal-support interaction influences

WGS is a simple but important reaction for industry applications such as the manufacture of ammonia, methanol and hydrogen (for hydrotreating, hydrocracking of petroleum fractions and other hydrogenations in the petroleum refining and petrochemical industry), hydrocarbons (by the Fischer-Tropsch process) and metals (by the reduction of the oxide ore). Also it is important for the fuel cell application which is a potential new energy source. Our main goal here is to use water-gas shift as a model reaction to study the active sites and reaction mechanisms for various catalysts. Among all the catalysts, supported noble metal catalysts are very promising due to their stability, high activity, resistance to poison and non-pyrophoricity. Our methods combine kinetic measurement with other powerful characterization techniques like Operando Transmission Infrared Spectroscopy (Operando IR), EXAFS and XANES and so on to reveal the fundamental science behind the reaction activity of the catalysts at the molecular level. This information will provide important guidance for better catalyst design. By now we have tested more than 700 catalysts and have their full kinetics set up as a data library.