Research efforts are primarily concentrated on engineering of materials or systems at the nano scale for a wide variety of applications. A class of materials that is currently under investigation is aerogel which can be defined as a gel whose pore liquid has been replaced by air. These nanoporous materials have intriguing properties due to their very high surface areas and highly porous structures and their properties can be tuned by modification of the synthesis conditions. Some of the ongoing research projects on aerogels are:
- development of carbon aerogel supported bimetallic nanoalloys as electrocatalysts for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells
- development of drug delivery vehicles using biodegradable aerogels
- development of silica aerogel based optofluidic reactors
- aerogel based blankets for textile applications (thermal insulation and medical)
Another research area is development of aftertreatment systems to reduce the emissions of harmful compounds such as NOx and CO from diesel engines. This project that is being carried out jointly with Ford Otosan focuses on developing physicochemical models for complex catalytic reactions using the data obtained in laboratory scale reactor systems which mimic catalytic converters. Systems which use technologies such as Lean NOx Trap (LNT), Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) and Diesel Particle Filter (DPF) are being developed to meet increasingly stringent emissions criteria.