Maria Shoukat

Date Approved


Degree Type

Campus Only Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Ross Nord, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Hedeel Guy-Evans, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Deborah Heyl-Clegg, Ph.D.


The interaction of carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen on Rhodium (Rh) is very interesting and important due to its applications in catalysis ( e.g., catalytic converters in automobiles). The main purpose of our research is to study the reaction between oxygen atoms and carbon monoxide molecules present on Rhodium terraces, as well as the binding of carbon monoxide molecules to the surface. In particular, we are looking at the mechanism at low temperatures where catalytic converters are not as effective. Our primary objective was to study the effect on the results of varying the rate constants for the different processes (CO oxidation, CO binding to the surface, CO mobility). To this end, we have developed a computer simulation program incorporating the rate constants as variable parameters. The magnitude of the rate constants is related to the relative strengths (probabilities) of the interactions. So, as we identified particular interactions {values of rate constants) that led to enhanced reactivity, we gained a better understanding of how the proposed mechanism relates to the physical processes occurring. This basic understanding of the reaction system may eventually lead to modifications that will improve the function of the catalyst.