Materials Engineering Department
BS in Materials Engineering
Abstract: Magnesium oxide nanoparticles are being used increasingly as catalysts for organic synthesis, fuel oil additives, and CO2 adsorbents. There are many ways to produce magnesium oxide nanoparticles, but there is little information available regarding the environmental costs of production. As demand for environmentally friendly materials increases, it is important to understand environmental impact differences between various production methods. This study will compare the differences in embodied energy and global warming potential (GWP) between two synthesis methods: microwave combustion synthesis (microwave synthesis) and oxidation of magnesium hydroxide (aqueous synthesis). The resulting nanoparticles were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS). Nanoparticles produced through microwave synthesis formed nanocubes while aqueous synthesis produced round particles with less pronounced facets. The embodied energy and GWP were determined using life cycle assessment (LCA), and it was found that the embodied energy and GWP of magnesium oxide nanoparticles produced by microwave synthesis were significantly less than that of aqueous synthesis.