UCL Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering


Maria Mourkou

PhD Student
Maria Mourkou

Email: maria.mourkou.20@ucl.ac.uk


Confinement effects in porous materials has been invoked in studies of heterogeneous catalysis recently to understand or elucidate how the intrinsic geometrical properties of the porous catalysts surface affect the diffusivity. For many ‘amorphous’ meso- and nano- porous catalysts used in industrial catalytic processes, the process is diffusion-controlled. The dominant transport mechanism in such cases is Knudsen diffusion, where the interactions of the gas molecules with the pore walls are more important than the intramolecular collisions. The geometrical characteristics of the pore walls (in this research the studied characteristic is surface roughness) confine the trajectories of the diffusing molecules (the rough surface creates fjords which act as molecules traps) and can lead to the reduction of yield and selectivity. Current approaches to study nano-confinement effects require heavy computing. Maria’s research project will involve the employment of a unique ultra-high vacuum setup and 3D-printed channels with complex microstructure geometry for the experimental investigation of the fractal surface and surface roughness of individual pores. The insight gained from this research project will facilitate the design and synthesis of new, better, and more complex materials for catalysts and catalyst supports, tailored for specific processes.


Integrated Master Diploma (Bsc and Msc), Chemical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece (2020)