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Nadine Kabengi

Assistant Professor
Education

Ph.D. Soil physical chemistry, University of Florida
M.Sc. Soil Science, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
B.Sc.,Agricultural Engineering, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Specializations

Environmental Mineralogy and Surface Chemistry

Biography

Dr. Nadine Kabengi has a joint appointment with the Department of Geosciences and the Department of Chemistry.

Research Interests:
My research explores fundamental surface chemical reactions occurring at interfaces between mineral surfaces and aqueous solutions and the role – both basic and applied – these interfacial reactions play in geochemical and environmental contexts, especially as related to the fate and transport of natural and anthropogenic contaminants in earth ecosystems. My expertise lies in the application and construction of flow adsorption microcalorimeters techniques and instrumentations for measuring the energetics and thermodynamic properties of various chemical surface reactions.

Research projects:
A research thrust in my group is to complete a systematic study of the thermodynamic properties of ion exchange, sorption and surface charge reactions occurring at metal oxides surfaces. Metal oxides/solution interfaces are critical for our environmental and energy future. In Earth-surface environment, metal oxides are ubiquitous in nature, existing as relatively pure minerals such as gibbsite and goethite, and as poorly crystalized hydrous oxyhydroxide phases, such as ferrihydrite, that bind and coat other soil components. They are arguably the most important component controlling the solubility and mobility of anthropogenic pollutant in the environment. In technological settings, metal oxides such as rutile and quartz are critical for our energy future as catalysts for the synthesis of chemicals, and for the production of fuel cells, solar fuel photocatalysts, and solid reactants. Determining thermodynamic properties for contrasting metal oxide sizes, different ligands properties, various solution chemical compositions, and across temperature range will help us understand the relationship between a metal oxide surface structure and its reactivity well enough to predict its behavior and performance under a suite of variable conditions.
Another research theme has been focused on understanding the sorption mechanisms for oxyanions (AxOyz−), such as chromate, arsenate, phosphate, sulfate, carbonate, etc. In conjunction with collaborators who focus on theoretical modeling, spectroscopic techniques and computational models, this research aims to build robust mechanistic and predictive models that originate at a molecular scale and help advance knowledge in the fields of geochemistry, chemistry, environmental remediation and nanoscience.

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