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New insights into the pore development mechanism of layered hydroxides upon thermal activation

Description

Layered double hydroxides (LDHs), also known as hydrotalcite-like materials, are extensively used as precursors for the preparation of (photo-)catalysts, electrodes, magnetic materials, sorbents, etc. The synthesis typically involves the transformation to the corresponding mixed metal oxide via calcination, resulting in

Layered double hydroxides (LDHs), also known as hydrotalcite-like materials, are extensively used as precursors for the preparation of (photo-)catalysts, electrodes, magnetic materials, sorbents, etc. The synthesis typically involves the transformation to the corresponding mixed metal oxide via calcination, resulting in atomically dispersed mixed metal oxides (MMOs). This process alters the porosity of the materials, with crucial implications for the performance in many applications. Yet, the mechanisms of pore formation and collapse are poorly understood. Combining an integrated in situ and ex situ characterization approach, here we follow the evolution of porosity changes during the thermal decomposition of LDHs integrating different divalent (Mg, Ni) and trivalent (Al, Ga) metals. Variations in porous properties determined by high-resolution argon sorption are linked to the morphological and compositional changes in the samples by in situ transmission electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, which is facilitated by the synthesis of well crystallized LDHs of large crystal size. The observations are correlated with the phase changes identified by X-ray diffraction, the mass losses evidenced by thermogravimetric analysis, the structural changes determined by infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and the pore connectivity analyzed by positron annihilation spectroscopy. The findings show that the multimetallic nature of the LDH governs the size and distribution (geometry, location, and connectivity) of the mesopores developed, which is controlled by the crystallization of the MMO phase, providing key insights for the improved design of porous mixed metal oxides.

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2017-05

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Synthesis and Characterization of 2D Metal-organic Frameworks for Mixed-matrix Membrane Gas Separations

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Membrane-based technology for gas separations is currently at an emerging stage of advancement and adoption for environmental and industrial applications due to its substantial advantages like lower energy and operating costs over the conventional gas separation technologies. Unfortunately, the available

Membrane-based technology for gas separations is currently at an emerging stage of advancement and adoption for environmental and industrial applications due to its substantial advantages like lower energy and operating costs over the conventional gas separation technologies. Unfortunately, the available polymeric (or organic) membranes suffer a trade-off between permeance and selectivity. Mixed matrix membranes (MMMs) containing two-dimensional (2D) metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as fillers are a highly sought approach to redress this trade-off given their enhanced gas permeabilities and selectivities compared to the pure polymeric membrane. These MMMs are increasingly gaining attention by researchers due to their unique properties and wide small- and large-scale gas separation applications. However, straightforward and scalable methods for the synthesis of MOFs nanosheets have thus far been persistently elusive. This study reports the single-phase preparation, and characterization of MMMs with 2D MOFs nanosheets as fillers. The prepared MOF and the polymer matrix form the ‘dense’ MMMs which exhibit increased gas diffusion resistance, and thus improved separation abilities. The single-phase approach was more successful than the bi-phase at synthesizing the MOFs. The influence of sonication power and time on the characteristics and performance of the membranes are examined and discussed. Increasing the sonication power from 50% to 100% reduces the pore size. Additionally, the ultimate effect on the selectivity and permeance of the MMMs with different single gases is reported. Analysis of results with various gas mixers indicates further performance improvements in these MMMs could be achieved by increasing sonication time and tuning suitable membrane thicknesses. Reported results reveal that MMMs are excellent candidates for next-generation gas mixture separations, with potential applications in CO2 capture and storage, hydrogen recovery, alkene recovery from alkanes, and natural gas purification.

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2019-05

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Synthesis and characterization of boronic-acid-containing metal organic frameworks

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We report the synthesis of novel boronic acid-containing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which was synthesized via solvothermal synthesis of cobalt nitride with 3,5-Dicarboxyphenylboronic acid (3,5-DCPBC). Powder X-ray diffraction and BET surface area analysis have been used to verify the successful synthesis

We report the synthesis of novel boronic acid-containing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which was synthesized via solvothermal synthesis of cobalt nitride with 3,5-Dicarboxyphenylboronic acid (3,5-DCPBC). Powder X-ray diffraction and BET surface area analysis have been used to verify the successful synthesis of this microporous material.

We have also made the attempts of using zinc nitride and copper nitride as metal sources to synthesize the boronic acid-containing MOFs. However, the attempts were not successful. The possible reason is the existence of copper and zinc ions catalyzed the decomposition of 3,5-Dicarboxyphenylboronic acid, forming isophthalic acid. The ended product has been proved to be isophthalic acid crystals by the single crystal X-ray diffraction. The effects of solvents, reaction temperature, and added bases were investigated. The addition of triethylamine has been shown to tremendously improve the sample crystallinity by facilitating ligand deprotonation

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2014

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Development of mehanochemically active polymers for early damage detection

Description

Identification of early damage in polymer composite materials is of significant importance so that preventative measures can be taken before the materials reach catastrophic failure. Scientists have been developing damage detection technologies over many years and recently, mechanophore-based polymers, in

Identification of early damage in polymer composite materials is of significant importance so that preventative measures can be taken before the materials reach catastrophic failure. Scientists have been developing damage detection technologies over many years and recently, mechanophore-based polymers, in which mechanical energy is translated to activate a chemical transformation, have received increasing attention. More specifically, the damage can be made detectable by mechanochromic polymers, which provide a visible color change upon the scission of covalent bonds under stress. This dissertation focuses on the study of a novel self-sensing framework for identifying early and in-situ damage by employing unique stress-sensing mechanophores. Two types of mechanophores, cyclobutane and cyclooctane, were utilized, and the former formed from cinnamoyl moeities and the latter formed from anthracene upon photodimerization. The effects on the thermal and mechanical properties with the addition of the cyclobutane-based polymers into epoxy matrices were investigated. The emergence of cracks was detected by fluorescent signals at a strain level right after the yield point of the polymer blends, and the fluorescence intensified with the accumulation of strain. Similar to the mechanism of fluorescence emission from the cleavage of cyclobutane, the cyclooctane moiety generated fluorescent emission with a higher quantum yield upon cleavage. The experimental results also demonstrated the success of employing the cyclooctane type mechanophore as a potential force sensor, as the fluorescence intensification was correlated with the strain increase.

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2014

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Stress-responsive nano- and microcomposites featuring mechanophore units

Description

The problem of catastrophic damage purveys in any material application, and minimizing its occurrence is paramount for general health and safety. Thus, novel damage detection schemes are required that can sense the precursors to damage. Mechanochemistry is the area of

The problem of catastrophic damage purveys in any material application, and minimizing its occurrence is paramount for general health and safety. Thus, novel damage detection schemes are required that can sense the precursors to damage. Mechanochemistry is the area of research that involves the use of mechanical force to induce a chemical change, with recent study focusing on directing the mechanical force to embedded mechanophore units for a targeted chemical response. Mechanophores are molecular units that provide a measureable signal in response to an applied force, often in the form of a visible color change or fluorescent emission, and their application to thermoset network polymers has been limited. Following preliminary work on polymer blends of cyclobutane-based mechanophores and epoxy, dimeric 9-anthracene carboxylic acid (Di-AC)-based mechanophore particles were synthesized and employed to form stress sensitive particle reinforced epoxy matrix composites.

Under an applied stress, the cyclooctane-rings in the Di-AC particles revert back to their fluorescent anthracene form, which linearly enhances the overall fluorescence of the composite in response to the applied strain. The fluorescent signal further allows for stress sensing in the elastic region of the stress-strain curve, which is considered to be a form of damage precursor detection. This behavior was further analyzed at the molecular scale with corresponding molecular dynamics simulations. Following the successful application of Di-AC to an epoxy matrix, the mechanophore particles were incorporated into a polyurethane matrix to show the universal nature of Di-AC as a stress-sensitive particle filler. Interestingly, in polyurethane Di-AC could successfully detect damage with less applied strain compared to the epoxy system.

While mechanophores of varying chemistries have been covalently incorporated into elastomeric and thermoplastic polymer systems, they have not yet been covalently incorporated a thermoset network polymer. Thus, following the study of mechanophore particles as stress-sensitive fillers, two routes of grafting mechanophore units into an epoxy system to form a self-sensing nanocomposite were explored. These involved the mechanophore precursor and mechanophore, cinnamamide and di-cinnamamide, respectively. With both molecules, the free amine groups can directly bond to epoxy resin to covalently incorporate themselves within the thermoset network to form a self-sensing nanocomposite.

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Date Created
2016

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A novel mobile device for environmental hydrocarbon sensing and its applications

Description

The accurate and fast determination of organic air pollutants for many applications and studies is critical. Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has become an important public health concern, which may induce a lot of health effects such as respiratory

The accurate and fast determination of organic air pollutants for many applications and studies is critical. Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has become an important public health concern, which may induce a lot of health effects such as respiratory irritation, headaches and dizziness. In order to monitor the personal VOCs exposure level at point-of-care, a wearable real time monitor for VOCs detection is necessary. For it to be useful in real world application, it requires low cost, small size and weight, low power consumption, high sensitivity and selectivity.

To meet these requirements, a novel mobile device for personal VOCs exposure monitor has been developed. The key sensing element is a disposable molecularly imprinted polymer based quartz tuning fork resonator. The sensor and fabrication protocol are low cost, reproducible and stable. Characterization on the sensing material and device has been done. Comparisons with gold standards in the field such as GC-MS have been conducted. And the device’s functionality and capability have been validated in field tests, proving that it’s a great tool for VOCs monitoring under different scenarios.

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Date Created
2017

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Development of environmentally responsive multifunctional microgel particles: synthesis, characterization and applications

Description

Environmentally responsive microgels have drawn significant attention due to their intrinsic ability to change volume in response to various external stimuli such as pH, temperature, osmotic pressure, or electric and magnetic fields. The extent of particle swelling is controlled by

Environmentally responsive microgels have drawn significant attention due to their intrinsic ability to change volume in response to various external stimuli such as pH, temperature, osmotic pressure, or electric and magnetic fields. The extent of particle swelling is controlled by the nature of the polymer-solvent interaction. This thesis focuses on design and synthesis of environmentally responsive microgels and their composites, and encompasses methods of utilizing microgel systems in applications as vehicles for the adsorption, retention, and targeted delivery of chemical species. Furthermore, self-assembled microgel particles at ionic liquid (IL)-water interfaces demonstrate responsive colloidal lattice morphology. The thesis first reports on the fundamental aspects of synthesis, functionalization, and characteristic properties of multifunctional environmentally responsive microgels derived from poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAm) and other functional co-monomers. In particular, the uptake and release of active chemical species such as rheology modifiers into and from these ionic microgels is demonstrated. Moreover, a facile tunable method for the formation of organic-inorganic composites with Fe3O4 nanoparticles adsorbed and embedded within ionic microgel particles is explored. Additionally, the development of zwitterionic microgels (ZI-MG) is presented. These aqueous ZI-MG dispersions exhibit reversible parabolic swelling as a function of pH and display a minimum hydrodynamic diameter at a tunable isoelectric point (IEP). This study also elucidates the controlled uptake and release of surfactants from these particle systems. The extent of surfactant loading and the ensuing relative swelling/deswelling behaviors within the polymer networks are explained in terms of their binding interactions. The latter part of this thesis highlights the versatility of fluorescently labeled microgel particles as stabilizers for IL-water droplets. When the prepared particles form monolayers and equilibrate at the liquid-liquid interface, the colloidal lattice organization may re-order itself depending on the surface charge of these particles. Finally, it is shown that the spontaneously formed and densely packed layers of microgel particles can be employed for extraction applications, as the interface remains permeable to small active species.

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2015

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Experimental and modeling study on pervaporation separation of ethanol and water mixture by polycrystalline MFI zeolite membranes

Description

While the solution diffusion model and pore flow model dominate pervaporation transport mechanism modeling, a new model combining the solution diffusion and viscous flow models is validated using membranes with large scale defects exceeding 2 nm in diameter. A

While the solution diffusion model and pore flow model dominate pervaporation transport mechanism modeling, a new model combining the solution diffusion and viscous flow models is validated using membranes with large scale defects exceeding 2 nm in diameter. A range of membranes was characterized using scanning electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction (XRD) to determine quality and phase characteristics. MFI zeolite membranes of He/SF6 pure gas permeation ideal selectivities of 25, 15, and 3 for good, medium, and poor quality membranes were subjected to liquid pervaporations with a 5% ethanol in water feed, by weight. Feed pressure was increased from 1 to 5 atm, to validate existence of viscous flow in the defects. Component molar flux is modeled using the solution diffusion model and the viscous flow model, via J_i=F_i (γ_i x_i P_i^sat )+(ρ )/M_W ∅/μ_ij x_i P_h. A negative coefficient of thermal expansion is observed as permeances drop as a function of temperature in all three membranes, where ϕ=((ϵr_p^2)/τ∆x). Experimental parameter ϕ increased as a function of temperature, and increased with decreasing membrane quality. This further proves that zeolitic pores are shrinking in one direction, and pulling intercrystalline voids larger, increasing the (ϵ/τ) ratio. Permiabilities of the bad, medium, and good quality membrane also decreased over time for both ethanol and water, meaning that fundamental membrane characteristics changed as a function of temperature. To conclude, the model reasonably fits empirical data reasonably well.

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Date Created
2016

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Designing Sorbent-Containing Electrospun Fibers For Dilute Chemical Separations

Description

An urgent need for developing new chemical separations that address the capture of dilute impurities from fluid streams are needed. These separations include the capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, impurities from drinking water, and toxins from blood streams.

An urgent need for developing new chemical separations that address the capture of dilute impurities from fluid streams are needed. These separations include the capture of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, impurities from drinking water, and toxins from blood streams. A challenge is presented when capturing these impurities because the energy cost for processing the bulk fluid stream to capture trace contaminants is too great using traditional thermal separations. The development of sorbents that may capture these contaminants passively has been emphasized in academic research for some time, producing many designer materials including metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and polymeric resins. Scaffolds must be developed to effectively anchor these materials in a passing fluid stream. In this work, two design techniques are presented for anchoring these sorbents in electrospun fiber scaffolds.

The first technique involves imbedding sorbent particles inside the fibers: forming particle-embedded fibers. It is demonstrated that particles will spontaneously coat themselves in the fibers at dilute loadings, but at higher loadings some get trapped on the fiber surface. A mathematical model is used to show that when these particles are embedded, the polymeric coating provided by the fibers may be designed to increase the kinetic selectivity and/or stability of the embedded sorbents. Two proof-of-concept studies are performed to validate this model including the increased selectivity of carbon dioxide over nitrogen when the MOF ZIF-8 is embedded in a poly(ethylene oxide) and Matrimid polymer blend; and that increased hydrothermal stability is realized when the water-sensitive MOF HKUST-1 is embedded in polystyrene fibers relative to pure HKUST-1 powder.

The second technique involves the creation of a pore network throughout the fiber to increase accessibility of embedded sorbent particles. It is demonstrated that the removal of a blended highly soluble polymer additive from the spun particle-containing fibers leaves a pore network behind without removing the embedded sorbent. The increased accessibility of embedded sorbents is validated by embedding a known direct air capture sorbent in porous electrospun fibers, and demonstrating that they have the fastest kinetic uptake of any direct air capture sorbent reported in literature to date, along with over 90% sorbent accessibility.

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Date Created
2018

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3D Printing of Stainless Steel 316L for Corrosive and Low-pressure Environments

Description

Corrosion is one of the key failure modes for stainless steel (SS) piping assets handling water resources managed by utility companies. During downtime, the costs start to incur as the field engineer procures its replacement parts. The parts may or

Corrosion is one of the key failure modes for stainless steel (SS) piping assets handling water resources managed by utility companies. During downtime, the costs start to incur as the field engineer procures its replacement parts. The parts may or may not be in stock depending on how old, complex, and common the part model is. As a result, water utility companies and its resilience to operate amid part failure are a strong function of the supply chain for replacement piping. Metal additive manufacturing (AM) has been widely recognized for its ability to (a) deliver small production scales, (b) address complex part geometries, (c) offer large elemental metal and alloy selections, (d) provide superior material properties. The key motive is to harvest the short lead time of metal AM to explore its use for replacement parts for legacy piping assets in utility-scale water management facilities. In this paper, the goal was to demonstrate 3D printing of stainless steel (SS) 316L parts using selective laser melting (SLM) technology. The corrosion resistance of 3D printed SS 316L was investigated using (a) Chronoamperometry (b) Cyclic Potentiodynamic Polarization (CPP) and Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) and its improved resistance from wrought (conventional) part was also studied. Then the weldability of 3D printed SS 316L to wrought SS 316L was illustrated and finally, the mechanical strength of the weld and the effect of corrosion on weld strength was investigated using uniaxial tensile testing. The results show that 3D printed part compared to the wrought part has a) lower mass loss before and after corrosion, (b) higher pitting potential, and (c) higher charge transfer resistance. The tensile testing of welded dog bone specimens indicates that the 3D printed parts despite being less ductile were observed to have higher weld strength compared to the wrought part. On this basis, metal AM holds great value to be explored further for replacement piping parts owing to their better corrosion resistance and mechanical performance.

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Date Created
2021