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Robert L. White

Robert L. White

Robert L. White


Research Areas: Analytical
Office: SLSRC 1210

B.S., 1978, Purdue University, 
Ph.D., 1982, University of Nebraska 
Postdoc, 1982, University of California-Riverside

Research Keywords:
infrared and mess spectrometric analysis, environemental chemistry

VT-DRIFTS apparatus

Instrumentation and Structure-Specific Detection Methods

Students working in my laboratory are developing new chemical analysis methods and instrumentation required to study problems that are relevant to present-day society. Research efforts focus on novel applications of chromatography, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and mass spectrometry. Emphasis is placed on combining complementary analysis methods to produce “hyphenated” analytical systems. These new analytical tools have been found to be very useful in material science and forensic analysis. Previous applications have focused on probing surface reactions in heterogeneous catalysis, polymer structure characterizations, in particular studies of the influence of metal substrates on the accelerated degradation of paint binders, elucidation of non-oxidative ceramic sintering processes used in the microelectronics industry, development of new approaches for recycling waste plastics that result in valuable hydrocarbon solvents, and evaluations of new biomass-to-fuel conversion processes. 

Fast GC Module

Our current research involves the use of a novel, custom-built fast gas chromatography apparatus for rapid separation and quantification of volatiles produced during thermal analyses.  Fast-GC/MS is used to characterize volatiles released from heated solids.  Variable temperature infrared spectroscopy is employed to monitor solid-state structure variations. With these methods, qualitative and quantitative information regarding hydrophilic species (e.g. contaminants and nutrients) in soil samples can be obtained. While pursuing our varied research goals, we also strive to improve our analytical instrumentation and methodologies to add new capabilities to our chemical analysis toolkit.