The Peter A. Rock Thermochemistry Laboratory at the University of California, Davis has developed the knowledge and equipment to accurately measure the thermochemical properties of inorganic and hybrid materials. Projects have included work on spinels, oxide superconductors and rock-forming minerals. Material properties investigated in our laboratory include heat effects associated with chemical reactions, particularly formation reactions, phase transitions, order-disorder processes and mixing processes in the solid or liquid state. The lab can determine heat capacities from -150 ˚C (liquid nitrogen) up to above 2000 ˚C.
Initially, the lab focused on the high-temperature chemistry of refractory ceramics and materials of geological interest. Over the years, the laboratory has contributed to the leading experimental methodologies in the study of the thermochemical properties of materials.
In recent years, our research has expanded to materials with less well-defined structure stability fields and thermochemical properties. The goal is to develop a solid predictive thermodynamic understanding of small-particle-size high-surface-area metastable and environmentally relevant materials. Current research focuses on surface energies and phase stability crossover in nanoscale materials. We also study the polymorphism and stability of porous materials, both zeolites and metal organic frameworks, in relation to the adsorption (confinement) of molecules in their pores. Studies of actinide and lanthanide materials involved in the nuclear fuel cycle also continue to progress.