The Peter A. Rock Thermochemistry Laboratory at the University of California, Davis provides knowledge and equipment to determine the thermochemical properties of inorganic and hybrid materials. Traditionally, the emphasis has been on high-temperature chemistry of refractory ceramics and materials of geological interests. Projects have included work on spinels, oxide superconductors and rock-forming minerals. Material properties that can be investigated in our laboratory include head effects associated with chemical reactions, particularly formation reactions, phase transitions, order-disorder processes and mixing processes in the solid or liquid state. Heat capacities can be determined from liquid nitrogen temperature up to about 1400oC. Over the past years, the laboratory has contributed to a sound experimental basis for thermochemical properties of materials.
In more recent years, the research interests were extended to explore materials that have less well-defined structures stability fields and thermochemical properties. The global is to provide a solid basis from a thermodynamic point of view for small-particle size, high-surface-area, metastable or environmentally relevant materials that previously could not be treated empirically. Nanomaterials ans surface energies are major emphases.
Headed by Dr. Alexandra Navrotsky, the research group averages about twenty to thirty people at a given time. Strong emphasis is placed on international collaboration – at any given time, about seven post doctorate scholars and an equal number of graduate students are working on a variety of projects. Graduate and undergraduate courses are provided in the university. Projects for graduate and undergraduate students are frequently offered and open for inquiry.