Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

Babu Joseph, Ph.D.


Palladium, Hydrogen sensor, Carbon nanotube, MD simulations, DFT


Hydrogen sensor technology is a crucial component for safety and many other practical concerns in the hydrogen economy. To achieve a desired sensor performance, proper choice of sensing material is critical, because it directly affects the main features of a sensor, such as response time, sensitivity, and selectivity. Palladium is well-known for its ability to sorb a large amount of hydrogen. Most hydrogen sensors use Pd-based sensing materials. Since hydrogen sensing is based on surface and interfacial interactions between the sensing material and hydrogen molecules, nanomaterials, a group of low dimensional systems with large surface to volume ratio, have become the focus of extensive studies in the potential application of hydrogen sensors. Pd nanowires and Pd-coated carbon nanotubes have been successfully used in hydrogen sensors and excellent results have been achieved. Motivated by this fact, in this dissertation, we perform theoretical modeling to achieve a complete and rigorous description of molecular interactions, which leads to the understanding of molecular behavior and sensing mechanisms.To demonstrate the properties of Pd-based sensing materials, two separate modeling techniques, but with the same underlying aim, are presented in this dissertation. Molecular dynamic simulations are applied for the thermodynamic, structural and dynamic properties of Pd nanomaterials. Ab initio calculations are utilized for the study of sensing mechanism of Pd functionalized single wall carbon nanotubes. The studies reported in this dissertation show the applications of computational simulations in the area of hydrogen sensors. It is expected that this work will lead to better understanding and design of molecular sensor devices.