Professor receives $200,000 from NSF for materials research

Ruigang Wang

Ruigang Wang

The National Science Foundation has awarded $200,640 for Ruigang Wang, professor of Materials Chemistry at Youngstown State University, to continue his research into improving catalytic conversion systems in automobiles.

The three-year grant is funded by the NSF’s Chemical Catalysis Program and will support six graduate research assistant students and at least six undergraduate student researchers.

Wang, a native of China who joined the YSU faculty in 2010, said the grant also allows for the development of workshops for faculty and students of local community colleges. The workshops will focus on new techniques and cutting-edge research projects at YSU, such as electron microscopy and catalysis for energy, with the hopes of attracting more transfer students from the community colleges, he said.

Wang’s research, also funded by the American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund, focuses on improving the performance of automotive catalytic converters, gas sensors and fuel cells. Specifically, the research looks at washcoat materials used in catalytic converters that help change pollutant gases into non-pollutant automotive exhaust. Wang is working on designing new washcoat materials – using less expensive metals such as nickel, copper and cobalt on rare-earth oxide support – that can run at lower temperatures, thus cutting down the wear-and-tear on other parts of the vehicle.

Wang earned a PhD from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Arizona State University and came to YSU after post-doctoral studies at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California. In three years, he has published a dozen scholarly papers, including seven for his research on catalytic converters.