Quantification of Magnesium and Differential Thermal Analysis of Electrolysis Materials

Faculty Sponsor

Robert Palumbo




Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Chemistry

Document Type

Poster Presentation

Celebration Date

Summer 7-31-2014


To establish the industrial viability for the electrolysis of MgO to Mg, the current efficiency of the process and the solubility of MgO in CaF2-MgF2 must be known. The current efficiencies of electrolytic cells of varying design were measured using charge passed from a potentiostat and Mg recovered from a quantification method using HCl. The current efficiencies were 82% and 83% with a platinum anode and 61%, 63%, and 71% with a graphite anode. The solubility of MgO in the electrolyte will be determined from a phase diagram prepared from differential thermal analysis. Data from colleagues in Slovakia shows that at least 1 mol% MgO can be dissolved in the electrolyte. To more precisely establish the solubility, the percent of MgO in the electrolyte will be expanded to include more values so that the emerging phase diagram near 1 mole% MgO is clarified.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

William Prusinski is a junior biochemistry major interested in this project from the perspective of analytical chemistry. His interest in solar chemistry stems from the collaboration of chemistry with engineering, relying on creative methods for detection and quantification of materials. In addition to doing research, he also enjoys helping the Department of Chemistry with introductory chemistry courses. After graduating, he plans to continue his education with a graduate degree in chemistry.

Jason Toberman is an electrical and mechanical engineering student with an interest in chemistry at Valparaiso University. Jason has worked three summers at the solar energy research facility at Valparaiso University and plans to pursue a career in renewable energies. He plans to attend graduate school after graduation in 2016. Jason is passionate about continuing the advancement of renewable energy sources, specifically solar, because he believes that their development will lead to a better future.

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