Dr. David T. Lynch

UofA DeanProfessor
Office: 13-263 Donadeo Innovation Centre for Engineering
Edmonton, AB T6G 1H9
Phone: 780.492.3596

Research Areas: Catalysis, Chemical Kinetics, Chemical Reactors, Mathematical Modelling, Polymers

Research Interests

Dr. Lynch's general area of research over the last decade has been concerned with heterogeneous catalysis and reactor design (Chemical Reaction Engineering). In particular, work has been carried out in three main areas: (1) use of supported metal catalysts (mainly platinum and palladium) to eliminate the oxides of nitrogen and carbon monoxide formed during combustion processes (the main application is in the reduction of pollutants from automobile exhaust); (2) production of polyethylene with Ziegler-Natta type catalysts using both slurry and gas-phase processes at conditions similar to those used industrially; and, (3) development of improved techniques for characterizing the behavior (kinetics, mixing, transport processes, etc.) of chemical and catalytic reactors with the associated development of detailed mathematical models of the physical and chemical processes which occur in these reactors.

Current Research

  • Experimental and computer modelling studies of the reactions of nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and oxygen on supported platinum and palladium catalysts, with the main focus being concerned with the reduction of the oxides of nitrogen through reaction with carbon monoxide.
  • Development and kinetic characterization of high-activity Ziegler-Natta type catalysts to produce polypropylene and linear low density polyethylene. The main objective is to determine the effect of catalyst composition and preparation conditions both on the reaction behavior (the kinetics, effect of poisons, etc.) and on the characteristics of the resulting polymer (molecular weight, density, short chain branching distribution, etc.)
  • Development of improved design and operational procedures for polyolefins polymerization reactors. Attention is currently being focused on (a) an experimental and mathematical examination of thermal runaway behavior, (b) a determination of appropriate reaction conditions and catalysts for the production of 1-butene from ethylene (dimerization reaction), and (c) the production of random and block copolymers of ethylene and propylene.
  • Numerical examinations of chaotic behavior in autocatalytic and nonisothermal chemical reactions are being carried out. Through these studies an improved understanding is being developed of the extremely complex types of behavior which can occur in chemical reactors.