Chiara Nilsson-Salvati, ’22, Chemical and Biological Engineering
I worked on synthesizing a compound that could efficiently capture gaseous carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-burning power plants, which could greatly mitigate their environmental impact. I attempted to form nanosheets of portlandite crystals, which prior research in the White lab predicted would be good candidates for carbon capture. Based on published studies, I developed a procedure for separating the crystals into layers one-molecule thin. I analyzed the portlandite’s structure at different experimental stages using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and prepared a report on my findings to guide further attempts in the group to create nanosized portlandite. I experienced academic research firsthand by working closely with my mentors and using high-level scientific instruments normally unavailable to undergraduate students. My work involved materials science, a discipline in the chemical and biological engineering major, providing me with insight as I decide which track to pursue.