Young-Shin Jun, professor of energy, environmental and chemical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering, has been awarded $449,194 from the National Science Foundation for her project “Nucleation of Manganese Oxides in the Presence of Reactive Halogen Species.”
In her research, she examines the formation of manganese oxide particles in saline water. Environmentally abundant, manganese oxides are important in removing contaminants from the environment. Their formation can be affected by human activities that have high salt concentrations, such as desalination and oil and gas recovery. However, the chemistry involved is poorly understood, including the role of halide ions (e.g., chloride and bromide) and their highly reactive halogen species.
This research quantitatively and qualitatively examines how saline water chemistry affects the formation of manganese oxides in environmental processes. The project also develops environmental chemistry outreach programs for underrepresented or economically disadvantaged K-12 students. This outreach both encourages the early involvement of high school and undergraduate students in research and improves university courses by incorporating research outcomes.