UCL Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering


Aleksandra Glowska

PhD Student
Aleksandra Glowska

Office: Roberts Building, Room 225, UCL

Email: g.aleksandra@ucl.ac.uk


Gamma-alumina (γ-Al2O3) is considered as the most important transition alumina due to its direct applicability in the petroleum and automotive industries as a catalyst and catalyst support. Its usefulness is attributed to a favorable combination of textural properties, including pore size distribution, pore volume, surface area and acid-base characteristics, which are strictly linked to the local microstructure, phase composition, and chemical composition of the surface. Previous studies have highlighted the high complexity of the spatial organisation of gamma-alumina, with pore network organisations ranging from the nanometer to the millimeter scale. Furthermore, each organisation level can demonstrate spatial heterogeneity and anisotropy. All these properties of the porous network have a profound impact on the mass transfer kinetics in the catalyst, and therefore on the performance of the catalytic process, so their complex characterisation represents a major challenge. For this purpose, a number of physicochemical characterisation techniques have been developed throughout the years, including nitrogen physisorption, nuclear magnetic resonance, electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and tomography. However, all of these techniques fail to provide complete information necessary to reconstruct the porous network in its full complexity when used independently.

Aleksandra’s research involves the development of a multi-technique strategy for the global characterisation of gamma-alumina, in order to gain in-depth understanding of the relation between the mass transfer properties of γ-alumina supports and the geometry of their porous network, and to evaluate all the geometric properties of the porous network relevant for mass transfer (porosity, pore size distribution, connectivity), taking into account the different organisation scales and associated spatial heterogeneities.

Conference Presentations:

  • "Multi-technique characterisation of hierarchically organised gamma-alumina catalyst supports", 13th European Congress of Chemical Engineering and 6th European Congress of Applied Biotechnology (ECCE/ECAB21), September 20-23 2021
  • "Impact of spatial heterogeneity on diffusion in gamma-alumina catalyst supports", 8th Conference of the Federation of European Zeolite Associations (FEZA 2021), July 5-9 2021
  • "Multi-technique characterisation of hierarchically organized gamma-alumina catalyst supports", ACS CATL Division Spring 2021 National Meeting, April 5-30 2021


MEng, Applied Chemical Engineering, Politechnika Wroclawska, Wroclaw, Poland (2018)

BEng, Chemical and Process Engineering, Politechnika Wroclawska, Wroclaw, Poland (2017)