Recent Publications

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. A New Life for Old Giants - Hydropower and Geothermal. Handbook on the Geopolitics of the Energy Transition, 2023.

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. Predicting Destabilization in Salt-Containing Aqueous Reverse Micellar Colloidal Systems. ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 2021.

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. A molecular dynamics study on the wettability of graphene-based silicon dioxide (glass) surface. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 2019.

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. Metal Hexaboride Work Functions: Surface Configurations and the Electrical Double Layer from First-Principles. Advanced Electronic Materials, 2019.

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. Polystyrene nanoparticles as a flotation collector: A molecular dynamics study. Journal of Molecular Liquids, 2019.

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. Phase Stability Analysis of Ternary Alkaline-Earth Hexaborides: Insights from DFT Calculations. ACS Applied Electronic Materials, 2019.

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. Esterification Kinetics of Phosphotungstic Acid Loaded KIT-5 Catalyzed Biodiesel Production. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2018.

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. Nanodomains and local structure in ternaryalkaline-earth hexaborides. Journal of Applied Crystallography, 2018.

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. Surface termination analysis of stoichiometric metal hexaborides: Insights from first-principles and XPS measurements. In Acta Materialia, 2018.

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Recent Talks & Workshops

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DELTA New Department Leaders Institute
Sat, Jun 24, 2023
Chemical Engineering Chairs Meeting
Fri, Jun 16, 2023
TEA and LCA Considerations for Phytomining in the USA
Tue, May 30, 2023
Foundations for Advancing Belonging
Sat, Apr 1, 2023
State of the Materials Science and Engineering at University of Nevada, Reno
Sun, Mar 19, 2023
Participant, 2021 ABET Symposium
Wed, Apr 14, 2021
Current Effects on Atomic Displacements and Phonon Dissipation in Hexaboride Materials: A Raman Spectroscopy Study
Wed, Sep 25, 2019

Recent Posts

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Chairs Academic Leadership Workshop completion by Prof. Vasquez


Faculty Academic Leadership Program completion by Prof. Vasquez


Thesis defense by Alex Buettner


Dissertation defense by Kevin M. Schmidt


Chemical & Materials Engineering Department’s Rubicon Cluster Basic Usage Guide



Advancing the circular economy for lithium batteries | Nevada

Project envisions a region in which workforce and economic development practices, private-sector innovation, and use-inspired research are coordinated and aligned to support the circular lithium economy.

Water Resiliency and Self Sufficiency: Advanced Technologies and Systems for Water Reuse

Project seeks to advance technological and educational resources related to developing resilient and sustainable water management portfolios with a growing theme centered on water reuse.

Accelerated Reactive Carbonation Process (ARCP) for Energy Efficient Separation of Rare Earth Minerals

Accelerated reactive carbonation process to enable improved mineral liberation, energy-efficient comminution, and enhanced separation of rare earth elements (REEs).

Structure and Resilience of Lithium and Cobalt Supply Chains: A Multilayer Complex Networks Approach

Project to study the structural characteristics of the supply chains of lithium and cobalt and assess its dynamics under shock using two multi-layer complex network models.

Design of high-entropy hexaborides as model systems of complex ceramics for sensor applications

Project to design and manufacture new high-entropy 10 B-enriched hexaborides for applications in radiation detection, with a special focus on the detection of thermal, epithermal and slow neutrons.

Metal Hexaborides

The goal of this collaborative project is to establish a comprehensive research and education program between University of California San Diego and the University of Nevada, Reno, exploring the physical and chemical mechanisms controlling the storage and separation of gases in hexaboride (i.e., MB 6 ) materials, with the aim of extending the basic and practical knowledge of the synthesis as well as the chemical behavior (i.e., bonding states, electronic and defect structure, phase stability, and diffusion behavior) of these types of materials.

Reverse Micellar Systems Modeling

We use molecular dynamics (MD) and dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements to analyze the size of reverse micellar structures in the AOT-water-isooctane system at different water-to-surfactant ratios at ambient temperature and pressure. We find good qualitative agreement for the size and morphology behavior of the reverse micelle structures between molecular dynamics calculations and DLS measurements. The combination of MD with DLS allows a better interpretation of the experimental results, in particular for conditions where the structures are non-spherical, commonly observed at lower water-to-surfactant ratios.

Life Cycle Analysis of Geothermal Energy

The main goal of the project is to support the state of Nevada efforts in exploration and utilization of geothermal energy resources by closing the loop on the life cycle analysis of these activities. The main objectives of this project are: (a) Design and develop static and dynamic Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) scenarios and methods for sustainable development of geothermal energy extraction and exploration projects in Northern Nevada and (b) Evaluate and demonstrate the LCA framework with case studies of interest for the region, and possibly extend these to other renewable energy related activities in the region.

Thermal Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass

Thermochemical conversion can alter lignocellulosic biomass to fuel, chemicals and renewable power. However, pyrolysis and gasification of raw biomass feedstock have technical barriers that must be eliminated before successful commercialization. Feedstock handling is complex due to the varying natures of commercial timber, agricultural residues (rice hulls, corn stover, wheat chaff), and energy crops (switch grass), among others. Two distinct thermal pretreatment technologies are investigated in this project: wet torrefaction and dry torrefaction.

Sludge to Power

In this project, at the University of Nevada-Reno, we have come up with an alternative wastewater processing system named Sludge to Power (S2P) that produces electricity onsite from dried wastewater biosolids, while eliminating a waste stream of millions of tons per year per plant. The EPA estimate that 60,000 dry metric tons of sludge are produced annually in Nevada alone, which could turn this into 11 megawatts of power.

Molecular Thermodynamics of Complex Systems

We use molecular thermodynamics approaches to characterize basic thermodynamic behavior of complex systems and substrates such as biomass and foods. For example, using molecular thermodynamics we study equilibrium moisture content in this type of substrates.


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