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Geology student’s research wins award at ACA meeting

Caleb Chappell of Crestwood, a junior in the WKU Geology program, was awarded the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Pauling Poster Prize at the annual American Crystallographic Association meeting July 25-29 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

WKU student Caleb Chappell was awarded the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Pauling Poster Prize at the annual American Crystallographic Association meeting. His poster was titled “Modeling the Crystal Structure and Ion Exchange Mechanisms of Rare Earth Elements in Zorite.”

WKU student Caleb Chappell was awarded the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Pauling Poster Prize at the annual American Crystallographic Association meeting. His poster was titled “Modeling the Crystal Structure and Ion Exchange Mechanisms of Rare Earth Elements in Zorite.”

The Pauling Poster Prize is awarded to young researchers in honor of Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, a pioneer in crystal structure research.

Chappell’s prize-winning poster was titled “Modeling the Crystal Structure and Ion Exchange Mechanisms of Rare Earth Elements in Zorite.” Zorite is a “sponge-like” mineral that has many industrial applications, including petroleum refinement and electronic circuitry and displays.

Chappell is mentored by Dr. Aaron Celestian, Associate Professor in Geography and Geology and Director of the Advanced Materials Institute at WKU. “This work allows us to understand, for the first time, the mechanism for movement of rare earth elements into the nano-pores of this material,” Dr. Celestian said of Chappell’s research. “The breakthrough has implications for understanding ion exchange in a host of other materials with varied functionality.”

Dr. Celestian’s group uses knowledge gained from this and other research to develop new materials for environmental and industrial applications.

The IUCr Pauling Poster Prize is awarded to one student (graduate or undergraduate) during each annual meeting, and comes with cash and other prizes.

Contact: Aaron Celestian, (270) 745-5977

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