"Electrochemical processes for materials sustainability: Separation and degradation of materials"
Dr. Hojong Kim, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, PA
Electrochemistry plays an essential role in modern technologies of energy conversion, metals production/separation, catalysts, and corrosion-resistant materials, requiring a
proper control of electrode reactions in a complex environment for the successful development of future sustainable technologies. In efforts to close the materials cycle in modern technologies (rare- earth magnets and used nuclear fuels), electrochemical properties of liquid metals were investigated to enable efficient separation of alkaline-earth and rare-earth elements. While the standard redox potentials suggest that alkaline- earth elements are not recoverable in molten chlorides, our recent study identified a unique approach to recover alkaline-earth (Sr, Ba) and rare-earth (Nd,Gd) elements using liquid metal electrodes. The underpinning principles of this unique behavior was established by studying the thermodynamic properties of (Sr, Ba) -(Bi, Sb, Pb, Sn) and (Nd, Gd) -(Bi, Sn) systems through electromotive force (emf) measurements. This presentation highlights the feasibility of separating Sr 2+ andBa2+ions from LiCl-KCl, leveraging strong chemical interactions between alkaline-earth and liquid metals. The use of liquid metal electrodes promises an efficient recovery of alkaline earth and rare earth elements for closing nuclear fuel cycle and recycling rare earth magnets. Key electrochemical techniques are introduced in studying fundamental materials properties and electrode reactions, including emf measurements, construction of a stable reference electrode, and cyclic voltammetry.
Dr. Hojong Kim is an assistant professor at Penn State University in Material Science and Engineering. He received B.S degree from Seoul National University and Ph.D. degree at MIT in the Uhlig Corrosion Laboratory.
Dr. Kim worked as a senior researcher at Samsung Corning Precision Glass to improve the process yield for TFT LCD glass manufacturing by engineering high-temperature materials.
After five years of industrial experience, Dr. Kim returned to MIT as a post doctoral researcher to contribute to the growing need for sustainable technology, with a research focus on molten oxide electrolysis for carbon-free iron production and liquid metal batteries for large scale energy storage. His current research focuses on electrochemical processes for separation of energy critical elements and development of corrosion resistant materials. He is the recipient of US DOE NEUP awards (2015, 2018),NSF CAREER award (2019), and new doctoral new investigator award from American Chemical Society (2015). He has served as the chair and vice chair of hydrometallurgy and electrometallurgy committee at TMS (2015 current).
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