High Tech with a Human Touch
VIRENDER K. SHARMA
Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D. RSMAS, University of Miami, 1989
Postdoctoral Fellow, SUNY, Buffalo, 1989-1990
Research Associate, Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1990-1992
Phone: (321) 674-7310
Office: 220 Olin Physical Sciences Building
CENTER OF FERRATE EXCELLENCE
Dr. Virender Sharma is the director of the Center of Ferrate Excellence. The mission of COFe is to promote the use of ferrate as a green chemical for the removal of a wide variety of organic and inorganic pollutants. This is accomplished through the Center's research and education activities.
(FeVI, FeV, and FeIV)
Dr. Sharma is active in teaching and research in analytical, physical, and environmental chemistry. His research interests include the study of kinetics and mechanisms of oxidations by transition metals in higher oxidation states in aqueous solution, development of innovative and effective methods for reducing the level of contaminants in the aquatic environment, the physical chemistry of natural waters, and the study contamination in aquatic environment. The current projects are:
Higher Oxidation States of Iron (Fe(VI), Fe(V), and Fe(IV)): Synthesis, Properties, and Environmental Chemistry. High oxidation states of iron in aqueous solution are of interest because of their involvement in many hydroxylation/oxidation reactions of environmental, industrial, and biological importance. In our group, fundamental properties of ferrates (FeVIO42-, FeVO43-, and FeIVO44-) in aqueous solutions are being studied. Stopped-flow and pulse radiolysis techniques are being used to perform kinetic studies of these oxidation states of iron with substrates of biological and environmental interest. Recent work has for the first time provided spectroscopic evidence for sequential reduction of Fe(V) to Fe(IV) to Fe(III) in aqueous media. The reactivity of the three oxidation states of iron with cyanide shows that Fe(V) and Fe(IV) are approximately four- and two-orders of magnitude more reactive than Fe(VI), respectively. The work on the use of ferrates in the development of environmentally-friendly technology for oxidative destruction of recalcitrant and emerging pollutants is also being carried out.
Heterogeneous Photocatalytic Reduction of Iron(VI). The results of recent work of the heterogeneous photocatalytic reduction of Fe(VI) in UV-irradiated TiO2 suspensions showed the indirect observation of the formation of Fe(V) at the TiO2 surfaces. Fe(V) has the ability to oxidize compounds which cannot be easily oxidized by Fe(VI). The present research includes understanding kinetics and mechanism of photocatalytic reduction of Fe(VI) in the presence of nitrogen-containing compounds (ammonia and cyanate) and formic acid, which react sluggishly with either Fe(VI) or illuminated TiO2 individually. The overall objective of this research is to explore the role of Fe(V), produced by a photocatalytic technique, in remediation processes.
Acid-Base Chemistry of Thiols in Aquatic Environment. Thiols such as cysteine and methionine can be major organic ligands for metals in natural waters. Understanding the chemical speciation of thiols is important in order to determine the nature of the formation of complexes with metals in natural waters. Our group is using potentiometric techniques to determine dissociation constants of protonated species of thiols over a wide range of temperature and ionic strength. Ionic interaction models are used to estimate the activity and speciation of thiols in natural waters.
Geochemistry of metals and hydrocarbons in Gulf of Mexico and Danube River, Hungary. These research activities focus on the concentrations of metals and hydrocarbons in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The studies are carried out in a wide variety of geographical settings including Mexican lagoons and are in collaboration with UNAM, Mexico. Similar studies are also being carried out in the Hungarian area of Danube River, Hungary in collaboration with Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary.
Dr. Sharma's educational background is in analytical, marine and environmental chemistry. He is experienced in solution thermodynamics and kinetics. He was twice awarded Diplomas by the Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico for studying metals contamination in the coastal environment of the Gulf of Mexico in collaboration with ICML, UNAM, Mexico in 1992 and 1996. He was also awarded the certification of Merit award in 1996 by the ACS (Environmental Chemistry Division) for his presentation "Oxidation of Thiourea by Ferrate(VI)". He served as an Associate Editor for "Directory of Research in Chemistry at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions", Council of Undergraduate Research, 6th Ed. (1995). He organized the symposium "Thermodynamics and Kinetics in Natural Waters" in honor of Frank Millero at the 1999 ACS meeting in Anaheim, California and was a Guest Editor of a special issue of Marine Chemistry, (Vol 70, 2000). Dr. Sharma served as Secretary of the American Chemical Society (Geochemistry Division) from 1999 to 2002. In summer 2004, Virender Sharma has organized the international symposium “Innovative Ferrate(VI) Technology in Water and Wastewater” in Prague, Czech Republic. Currently, Dr. Sharma has active international collaborations with scientists all over the world on the chemistry and applications of higher oxidation states of iron. This has resulted in ACS Symposium “Ferrates: Synthesis, Properties, and Applications in Water and Wastewater Treatment” in 2006. In 2006, The Orlando section of the American Chemical Society has given him an outstanding chemist award. Recently, Florida Tech gave him its “Faculty Excellence in Research” award. More recently, he was also given the “Faculty of the Year Award” by the Student Affiliation of the American Chemical Society at Florida Tech. One of his research papers has been cited as the “Top-50 most cited article” by the Elsevier Colloids journals.