Hee Joo Choi, ’21, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Certificate(s): Materials Science and Engineering

I worked on synthesizing nanoparticles of zeolites to investigate their effect on the strength and durability of metakaolin-based geopolymer cements. This is important because producing geopolymers releases less carbon dioxide than producing the cement we use today. The nanozeolites are added to the geopolymer in hopes of increasing its endurance by acting as crystalline seeds that more crystals grow
on. I synthesized various zeolites, milled them down to the desired nanosize, and used characterization machinery such as dynamic light scattering (DLS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) to verify the particle’s identity and size. I loved having the opportunity to find relevant papers, try to replicate the procedures they described, and learn about an exciting alternative to cement. My internship allowed me to explore up-to-date research on eco-friendly cement materials and truly appreciate the dedication and time put forth in the research process.