Shel Dews '20

Shel Dews

Major: Natural Science
Bio: Shel Dews grew up in a suburb outside of Washington D.C. before coming to Fordham to pursue a degree in natural science. She is also very active in Fordham's Global Outreach, having participated in 3 projects, and is currently a co-president of the board. After graduation she hopes to join a research lab for two years before applying to medical school.

Title of Research: Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of Picolinic Acid by Gas Phase Catalytic Oxidation of 2-Pyridinecarboxaldehyde and 2-Picoline
Kindra Becker-Redd
Dr. Yevgeniya Alkayeva
Abstract: Picolinic acid is a valuable product biologically and in numerous industries. Picolinic acid is currently produced through liquid phase oxidation by using strong oxidizing agents, creating non-environmentally green wastes. To produce the acid successfully by gas phase oxidation, using air as the oxidizing agent on the surface of a solid catalyst, would be both a greener and cheaper method overall. Other researchers have attempted gas phase oxidation in conventional ovens but no acid was observed. Instead byproducts such as pyridine, CO2, and pyridoin were found. Our method employed a microwave oven as well as vanadium titanium or molybdenum titanium catalysts that feature high surface areas. The catalyst temperature is lower on surface and higher on inside--oxygen is more mobile and able to oxidize. This combination creates a temperature distribution within the specially designed microwave-assisted reactor that is conducive for conversion to acid. Conversion of 2-picoline to picolinic acid in this microwave oven was not high; however, conversion of the reaction intermediate, 2-pyridinecarbaldehyde, as reactant was found to produce picolinic with high selectivity and very low byproducts. The next steps are to raise conversion rates and study the kinetics of the reaction by looking at different ratios of starting materials.