Faculty Sponsor

Stan Zygmunt


Arts and Sciences


Physics & Astronomy

ORCID Identifier(s)

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3367-3116; https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5940-6871;

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-29-2019


Our research seeks to determine the propane dehydrogenation (PDH) reaction pathways using various transition-metal cluster catalysts. We are studying the first step of the reaction, in which a C-H bond is broken. This has been previously shown to be the rate-limiting step of the PDH reaction. We are calculating the PDH activation energy (Ea) using the Vienna Ab-Initio Simulation Package (VASP) in conjunction with the nudged elastic band algorithm. Thus far, we have studied Pt, Ta, and Ni clusters ranging in size from 2-10 atoms. Our goal is to better understand the dependence of Ea on metal type and cluster size.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Sarah E. Bradash

Ms. Bradash is currently pursuing her B.S. in physics with a minor in psychology, in hopes to pursue either nuclear physics or material science in her graduate career. She has taken a number of courses pertaining to either field, in her time at Valparaiso University.

Andrew D. Hoisington

Mr. Hoisington is doing summer research at Valparaiso University before transferring to University of Alabama this fall to pursue aerospace engineering.

Stan A. Zygmunt

Prof. Zygmunt has been a member of the physics & astronomy department at Valparaiso University for 31 years, with extensive background in condensed matter research and related fields.

Louis Fadel

Prof. Fadel has been a member of the chemistry and physical science department at Ivy Tech for 10 years, is a previous member of the Valparaiso University faculty, and has an extensive background in research laboratory management.