DeCaluwe Group Photo, Jan. 2018

CORES Research Group Members

Clean Energy · Clean Water
Electrochemistry · Surface Science · Reacting Flows

Graduate Students (listed chronologically)

Jamie Kee

Jamie Kee

Jamie's current research involves the use of protonic-ceramic membrane devices for reforming, separation, and compression of Hydrogren fuel from readily available fuels such as methane and ethanol.

Protonic-ceramic membranes are high temperature membranes that dominantly conduct protons. The membrane operating conditions and material compatibility allow for creative process intensification technologies. This research focuses on combining steam methane reforming, hydrogen separation, and hydrogen compression while operating at autothermal conditions. Jamie's work uses a mixture of experiments and numerical simulation to understand and overcome limitations in this emerging technology.

Jamie earned his Masters of Science degree in the DeCaluwe Lab in Summmer, 2016. Thesis topic: "The effect of membranes in methane dehydroaromatization on a bifunctional Mo/H-ZSM-5 cartalyst in a packed bed reactor."

Publications: Kee, B., Karakaya, C., Zhu, H. DeCaluwe, S.C., Kee, R.J., "The influence of hydrogen-permeable membranes and pressure on methane dehydroaromatization in packed-bed catalytic reactors." Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 56(13), 2017, p. 3551—3559. Citations: 3.


Gandhali Kogekar

Gandhali Kogekar

Gandhali's research is focused on developing advanced chemical kinetics modeling tools in Cantera, specifically related to high-pressure combustion modeling. Her recently published work focuses on the impact of non-idealities in high-pressure shock tube reactors. Shock tube experimental data is compared with Cantera simulations using the ideal gas equation of state and the non-ideal Redlich-Kwong equation of state. Additionally, Gandhali is working on the simulation of high-pressure flames using non-ideal equations of state as well as the implementation of a thermodynamically consistent Peng-Robinson equation of state in Cantera.

In addition to high-pressure combustion research, Gandhali has made significant contributions to the development computational approaches to accelerate three-dimensional computational modeling of microchannel heat exchangers. She has also developed a generalized model for flow distribution in spargers.

Gandhali earned her Master of science degree from Purdue University in 2014. Before joining Colorado School of Mines, she was working at Reaction design (ANSYS Inc), a leading developer of combustion simulation software.

Publications: Kogekar, G., Karakaya, C., Liskovich, G.J., Oehlschlaeger, M.A., DeCaluwe, S.C., Kee, R.J., "Impact of non-ideal behavior on ignition delay and chemical kinetics in high-pressure shock tube reactors." Combustion and Flame, 189, 2018, p. 1—11. Citations: 1.


Spencer Gilleon

Spencer Gilleon

Spencer is a current Master’s student whose work focuses on pore-scale transport phenomena and the microstructural characterization of porous membranes used in membrane desalination (MD). He uses focused ion beam scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) to render 3D membrane reconstructions that enable analysis of microstructural parameters such as porosity, tortuosity, and pore diameter. Understanding these parameters at the pore-scale can lead to new design criteria and optimization of the MD process.

Spencer has developed an experimental protocol that allows for proper infiltration and sample preparation needed to study MD membranes with FIB-SEM. He is currently working on using results from his 3D membrane reconstructions to fine-tune porous media transport models such as the Dusty Gas Model. Doing so allows for more accurate simulations when determining water vapor flux through MD membranes.

Spencer earned his B.S. in Biological Engineering from the University of Florida. He is a Florida native and enjoys volunteering locally with Young Life Capernaum.


Devin Karns


Corey Randall

Corey Randall

Corey is currently researching process-structure-property relationships in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) catalyst layers. The central part of his work involves fabrication of a porous stage that could be used for in-operando neutron reflectrometry experiments. These novel flow-through experiments will give unprecendented insight into the relationship between structure and critically important transport properties in the thin-film polymers for PEMFCs.

Neutron reflectrometry is an experimental technique that allows multi-layered thin films to be studied. When combined with a porous support structure, this technique could be extended to study active polymer interfaces by allowing the sample to interact with a chemical environment. The design of electrolyte layers in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and lithium-air batteries could be considerably improved with data gathered from these experiments.


Daniel Korff

Daniel’s research is focused on understanding the behavior of lithium-ion batteries during eXtreme Fast Charging (XFC). Enabling XFC (charging a battery in 10 minutes or less) is a critical step toward the broad commercialization of battery-based electric vehicles, but can lead to problems with battery performance and safety.

Daniel's work will develop experimentally-validated mdoeling tools to bettery predict battery degradation during XFC, with a particular focus on the electrolyte composition variations and the evolution of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI).

Daniel received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2016 and worked at United Technologies before returning to graduate school at Colorado School of Mines.


Amy LeBar

Amy LeBar

Amy’s research involves a promising new technology in electric vehicles and renewable energy storage: Li-air batteries. Her work investigates the effects of conductive polymer binders in Li-air battery cathodes on battery performance, as well as improving understanding of the polymer’s stability and function in these batteries. Her primary objective is to design and assemble the experimental setup to measure these effects via various tests. Such tests will include electrochemical testing, and mass spectrometry of the exhaust gases.

Coupled with multi-scale numerical simulations, these experiments will help researchers develop conductive polymer binders and battery microstures for efficient and durable Li-air batteries. Efficent and light-weight Li-air batteries would enable electric vehicles with longer driving ranges.

Amy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Portland in May of 2017.


Caleb Stetson

Caleb Stetson

Caleb’s research focuses on advancing novel characterization approaches to study the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) in lithium-ion batteries. The SEI is a thin (a few nanometers to hundreds of nanometers in thickness) layer that forms on battery anode surfaces due to electrolyte degradation. A stable SEI, in theory, prevents additional degradation, but in reality the layer continues to evolve, shortening battery lifetimes, reducing power, and contributing to safety concerns.

While the SEI's importance to battery performance and longevity is widely recognized, its formation mechanisms are poorly understood. Caleb’s work at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) — which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and supports research at multiple National Laboratories — broadly aims to advance silicon as a next-generation battery anode material. Specifically, his current research focuses on measurement of structural and electronic properties of SEI which forms on the silicon anode, utilizing scanning probe microscopy (SPM).


Undergraduate Students


Daniel Dickason

Daniel Dickason

Daniel is assisting in the design and assembly of experimental infrastructure for the testing of lithium air batteries. These tests will include electrochemical testing, coupled with mass spectometry of the exhaust gases (i.e. Differential Electrochemical Mass Spectometry, DEMS) for detailed analysis of the dominant reaction pathways in the operating batteries. These experiments will require precise control of the battery's temperature and the composition of the gases sent to the battery cathode.

Daniel's work is funded by a CSM Undergraduate Research Fellowship.



Grant Bingham

Grant Bingham

Grant's work focuses on the role of shear stress in thin-film Nafion properties, to understand transport limitations in low-temperature PEM Fuel Cells. Much of our unerstanding of thin-film Nafion properties comes from the study of model systems, where thin-films are spin-case onto a pristine, flat surface. To begin to understand how these model systems relate to properties in actual, operating PEM fuel cells, Grant is looking at the effect of the spin speed during the deposition process, and the impact of the resulting shear stresses, which are generally absent during the fabrication of PEM fuel cell catalyst layers.

Grant's work is funded by a CSM Undergraduate Research Fellowship.


Past Members

Christopher H. Lee (MS, 2016)

Christopher Lee

Christopher's research focused on characterizing the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI), a thin protective layer that forms in lithium ion batteries. Long-term degradation of the SEI severely limits the durability and safety of lithium-ion batteries. Improving the SEI durability is limited by a poor understanding of its properties, and Chris's work used neutron reflectometry and quartz crystal microbalance for precise measurements of the SEI chemical makeup and structure.

Christopher received the "Outstanding Student Poster" Award at the 37th Annual Symposium on Applied Surface Science (AVS).

Christopher earned his Masters of Science degree in the DeCaluwe Lab in Summmer, 2016. Thesis topic: "Multimodal evaluation of the lithium ion battery solid electrolyte interphase: Quantifying elementary chemistry via in operando neutron refectivity and electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance."

Christopher is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Computer Science at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

John Fischer (BS, 2018)

John Fischer

John conducted research in the DeCaluwe group from Fall 2014 through his graduation, in Spring, 2018. John's work focused on exploring the structure-property relationsips for thin-film Nafion, to understand transport limitations in low-temperature PEM Fuel Cells. John's work has utilized a mixture of numerical simulations and advanced characterization techniques, such as neutron reflectometry, quartz crystal microbalance, and spectroscopic ellispsometry.

John's awards include a CSM Undergraduate Research Fellowship and a NIST Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, as well as internships at Gates Corporation and Tesla Motor Corp. After graduation in May of 2018, John joined the Process Engineering group at Tesla Motor Corp. in Fremont, CA. His interests include energy production and storage technologies, sustainability, polymers, and advanced manufacturing.

Publications: DeCaluwe, S.C., Baker, A.M., Bhargava, P., Fischer, J.E., Dura, J.A., "Structure-property relationships at Nafion thin-film interfaces: Thickness effects on hydration and anisotropic ion transport." Nano Energy, 46, 2018, p. 91—100.


Brooke Cawthon (BS, 2018)

Brooke Cawthon

Brooke conducted research in the DeCaluwe from from Fall, 2017, until her graduation in Spring, 2018. She researched material sets for efficient and durable lithium-O2 batteries, with a focus on understanding the role of conductive polymer binders in the battery cathodes. Brooke was essential in building key battery fabrication infrastructure and protocols in our lab.

Brooke majored in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Public Affairs through the CSM Honors Program. After graduation, in May 2018, Brooke joined ExxonMobil in their Baton Rouge Refinery and Chemical Plant as a Contact Engineer, troubleshooting failures and managing the long-term maintenance of large mechanical systems.