Materials Chemistry Geochemistry

James Kirkpatrick

Professor

226A CEM

517-353-1132



Primary Research Area

Material (Ma)

Other Area(s) of Interest

Geochemistry (G)

Research

Research in the Kirkpatrick laboratory focuses on understanding the structure, dynamics and energetics of materials of importance in geochemistry and in materials applications. Current efforts are on H2O, CO2, CH4, and a range of cations in 2-D nano-confinement and in meso-scale pores with applications to fluids in soils and other near-surface geochemical environments, and to geological C-sequestration and enhanced oil and gas production. Our research approach involves the combined application of experimental solid-state NMR, other spectroscopic methods, and X-ray diffraction with computational molecular modeling. The NMR studies include MAS experiments using newly developed in situ high pressure and temperature techniques.  The computational modeling uses principally molecular dynamics (MD) approaches, including recently developed grand canonical MD methods (GCMD).

Recent results show, for instance, that CO2 and CH4 are readily incorporated into the ~0.4 to 1 nm interlayer galleries of smectite clays (Figure 1). The results provide a structural and energetic basis for understanding fluid transport in shales and other rocks in C-sequestration and petroleum reservoirs.

 

Figure 1. GCMD simulation showing water molecules surrounding Ca2+ ions (green) with clusters of CO2 molecules between the hydrated cations. NMR and GCMD results show that the CO2 molecules undergo rapid librational motion around the axis perpendicular to their O-C-O axis.
Figure 1. GCMD simulation showing water molecules surrounding Ca2+ ions (green) with clusters of CO2 molecules between the hydrated cations. NMR and GCMD results show that the CO2 molecules undergo rapid librational motion around the axis perpendicular to their O-C-O axis.

NMR of nano-confined cations show complex dynamical behavior including exchange among sites with different hydration states (Figure 2) that depend on the cation, the thermodynamic activity of water, and temperature.

Figure 1. GCMD simulation showing water molecules surrounding Ca2+ ions (green) with clusters of CO2 molecules between the hydrated cations. NMR and GCMD results show that the CO2 molecules undergo rapid librational motion around the axis perpendicular to their O-C-O axis.
Figure 2. Variable temperature 23Na MAS NMR spectra of a Na-smectite clay showing the presence of three hydrated Na-environments that undergo dynamical averaging near room temperature and two non-hydrated Na-sites that do not participate in this averaging.

 

Computational MD modeling and NMR spectroscopy also show that the molecular scale aggregation of natural organic matter (NOM) on the surfaces of clay minerals is driven by a combination of cation bridging and hydrophobic interactions, depending on the pH and cation in solution (Figure 3). He ion microscopy shows the presence of these clusters (Figure 4).

 

Figure 3. Snapshot from an MD simulation showing aggregation of 16 NOM molecules in a Ca-dominated solution and the attachment of the molecular cluster to the surface of a clay particle.
Figure 3. Snapshot from an MD simulation showing aggregation of 16 NOM molecules in a Ca-dominated solution and the attachment of the molecular cluster to the surface of a clay particle.

 

Figure 4. He ion micrograph showing chains of aggregated NOM molecules.
Figure 4. He ion micrograph showing chains of aggregated NOM molecules.

 

Selected Publications

Bowers, G.M., Loring, J.S., Schaef, H.T., Walter E.D., Burton S.D., Hoyt, D.W., Cunniff, S.S., Loganathan N., and Kirkpatrick, R.J., 2018, Interaction of hydrocarbons with clays at reservoir conditions: in situ IR and NMR spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction for expandable clays with variably wet supercritical methane, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 2, 640-652.

Nanda, R., Reddy, U.V., Bowers, G.M., Bowden, M., and Kirkpatrick, R.J., 2018, The structural and dynamical role of water in natural organic matter: a 2H NMR study, Organic Geochemistry, 123, 90-102.

Loganathan, N., Yazaydin, A.O., Bowers, G.M., Kalinichev, A.G., and Kirkpatrick, R.J., 2018, Competitive adsorption of H2O and CO2 in 2-dimensional nanoconfinement: GCMD simulations of Cs- and Ca-hectorite, J. Phys. Chem C, 122, 23460-23469.

Loganathan, N., Yazaydin, A.O., Bowers, G.M., and Kirkpatrick, R.J., 2019, Tuning the hydrophobicity of layer-structure silicates to promote adsorption of non-aqueous fluids: effects of F- for OH- substitution on CO2 partitioning into smectite interlayers, J. Phys. Chem. C., 123, 4848-4855.

Bowers, G.M., Schaef, H.T., Miller, Q.R.S., Loring, J.S., Walter, E.D., Burton, S.D., Hoyt, D.W., McGrail, B.P., and Kirkpatrick, R.J., 2019, 13C NMR spectroscopy of methane and carbon dioxide in a natural shale, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 3, 324-328.

Loganathan, N., Bowers, G.M., Ngouana, W.B.F., Kalinichev, A.G., Kirkpatrick, R.J., and Yazaydin, A.O., 2019, Understanding methane/carbon dioxide partitioning in clay nano- and meso-pores with constant reservoir composition molecular dynamics modeling, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 21, 6917-6924.

Nanda, R., Bowers, G.M., Burton, S., Loganathan, N., and Kirkpatrick, R.J., 2019, Structure and dynamics in smectite interlayers: 23Na NMR spectroscopy and computational molecular modeling of Na hectorite, RSC Advances, 9, 12755-12765.

Bowers, G.M., Schaef, H.T., Cunniff, S.S., Loring, J.S., Walter, E.D., Burton, S.D., Larsen IV, R.K., Miller, Q.R.S., Ilton, E.S., and Kirkpatrick, R.J., 2019, Chemical trapping of CO2 by clay minerals at reservoir conditions: two mechanisms observed by insitu high pressure and temperature experimental studies, ACS Earth and Space Chemistry, 3, 1034-1046.

CV

A.B., 1968, Cornell University

Ph.D., 1972, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Senior Research Geologist, 1972-1973

Exxon Production Research

Post-doctoral Fellow in Geophysics, 1973-1975, Harvard University

Assistant Research Geologist, 1976-1978

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, 1978-2007

Department Head (Geology), 1988-1997

R. E. Grim Professor, 2005-2007,

Executive Associate dean, 1997-2007

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dean, College of Natural Science 2007-2017, Michigan State University

News

Awards/Honors

2018 MSU Foundation Professor Michigan State University
2015 Marilyn and Sturges W. Bailey Distinguished Member Clay Minerals Society
2005 R. E. Grim Professor University of Illinois (Department of Geology)
2004 Dana Medal Mineralogical Society of America
2000 Brunauer Award American Ceramic Society
1996 Donnay Lecturer Carnegie Institution of Washington
1985 Overseas Fellow Churchill College
Fellow Geological Society of America
Fellow Mineralogical Society of America
Who's Who in America
Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Men and Women of Science
Fellow American Ceramic Society