||Nitrated compounds are the principle starting materials for the syntheses of numerous commercially-important classes of chemicals. The first chapter of this thesis examines the nitration of toluene using acetic anhydride and nitric acid with various zeolite catalysts. This reaction was explored in terms of: reaction temperature, zeolite cation, Si/Al ratio, zeolite type, and water content. The intense interest in the unique mechanical, optical, electronic, biological, and chemical properties of carbon nanomaterials motivated our study of the synthesis and characterization of functionalized platelet, ribbon and herringbone graphite nanofibers in the second chapter of this thesis. Several methods were used to explore the surface oxidation of the nanofibers: chemical oxidation in solution, oxidization using an ionized gas (plasma), and heterogeneous surface oxidations at high temperature.