BSc Unisa, STD Natal, PhD Cape Town, DEng Stellenbosch
Department of Chemical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
Email: Cyril O'Connor
My research interests are focused on catalysis and flotation. The Centre for Catalysis Research of which I am a member focuses on the synthesis, characterisation and testing of catalysts. The catalyst classes on which most emphasis is currently placed are zeolites, supported metal catalysts and metal oxide catalysts. The reactions currently enjoying my interest are alkylation reactions especially of phenol. In many cases modifying zeolites by silanisation of the external surface can lead to higher yields of specific products. Much research has been invested in the Centre into optimising the method whereby the external surface is coated and currently exciting results are coming out of this work. Modification of zeolites by acid washing and steaming are also important post-synthesis modifications which are being studied. I am a former Vice-President of the International Zeolite Association and Chairman of the Organising Committee for the 14th International Zeolite Conference which was held in Cape Town in 2004.
The Centre for Minerals Research of which I am the Director focuses on research in Flotation and Comminution. My own personal interests are in the area of flotation and particularly in flotation reagent evaluation. In this I collaborate with Associate Professor Dee Bradshaw. I am also collaborating with Mr Martin Harris in the study of froth phase behaviour. The research is carried out in collaboration with many mining, reagent, manufacturing and flotation research groups and companies both in South Africa and overseas and in particular with the JK Mineral Research Centre at the University of Queensland. I was Chair of the Organising Committee of the XXII IMPC which was held in Cape Town in 2003.