Date of Award

Spring 4-20-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Dissertation



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Brian G. Frederick

Second Committee Member

François G. Amar

Third Committee Member

Robert J. Lad

Additional Committee Members

Thomas J. Schwartz

Carl. P. Tripp


Heterogeneous catalysis, including thermal- and photocatalysis, is a key technology toward developing industrial processes for a sustainable future. Therefore, the study of surface reactions and catalyst properties includes most studies in this area. There has been extensive work put into developing experimental and computational tools to understand surface and interface phenomena, describe mechanistic chemical transformations, and simulate the behavior of surface reactions to develop better catalysts and more efficient processes.

This thesis describes experimental and theoretical investigations to explain the reaction mechanism of ethanol conversion to value-added products over an MgO/SiO2 catalyst, a kinetic model describing the surface changes during pretreatment of WO3 as hydrogenation and hydrodeoxygenation catalyst, and a fundamental study of the electronic structure of sulfur-doped TiO2 to explain the enhanced photocatalytic activity of this material.

The main goal of all the chapters of this thesis is to generate knowledge of these heterogeneous catalysis systems and add a small step in the bridge toward a sustainable future.

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