Rachel Worthen

UNH logo

PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of Florida, 2001
University of New Hampshire
McNair Scholar, 1995
Major: Chemical Engineering
Mentor: V.K. Mathur, Ph.D. - Professor of Chemical Engineering
Research Topic: A Study of the Removal of Nitric Oxide in the Corona Discharge

A Study of the Removal of Nitric Oxide in the Corona Discharge
Nitric oxide (NO) is an air pollutant emitted from combustion sources. Various methods are available to control its release into the atmosphere. This study focuses on a corona discharge technique to remove NO from a stream of nitrogen (N2).

The corona discharge is produced when the gas is exposed to an intense electric field. The energy supplied to the "corona discharge reactor" causes the molecules to break apart, forming ions and radicals, which initiate further reactions, resulting in the reduction of NO to N2 and O2. The reactor consists of two cylindrical stainless steel electrodes, one inside the other. The outer electrode encloses a quartz tube, and the inner electrode is enclosed by another quartz tube. Glass wool can be placed between the quartz tubes. The inner electrode is connected to an ac voltage source, the other is grounded. The reactor operates at room temperature and pressure.

Experimental parameters, such as concentration of NO in the inlet gas stream, electrode configuration, amount of glass wool, and frequency of power, are examined. It was found that with 22 Watts of power, a gas residence time of one second, an NO concentration of 250 ppm, and an 8 mm distance between the electrodes, 99 % conversion of NO to N2 and O2 was achieved. Changing the frequency of the ac power source from 400 to 1,000 HZ or the amount of glass wool packing did not significantly affect the corona's efficiency for NO conversion.