National Science Foundation Grant Funds Catalytic Compound Research

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Rudi Wehmschulte, Ph.D., Florida Tech associate professor of chemistry, has earned a $400,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to
study reactive materials, which may be used as novel catalysts in chemical reactions. The work may prove important in preparing organic compounds or

“The compounds in question are very reactive. We are attempting to control and understand their reactivity to make them usable in chemical reactions,” said
Wehmschulte. “Some potential applications include the formation of cyclic fluorescent compounds. Once formed, we can determine the potential of these
compounds to react directly with chemicals such as hydrogen, carbon monoxide or ethylene in precursors to plastics.

“The materials also have shown some activity for breaking up fluoro-organics or making them functional. Fluoro-organics are a group of compounds closely
related to Teflon, which is very unreactive.”

The work will expose postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate students to a wide range of synthetic, analytical and computational techniques and teach them
valuable skills.

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