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Synthesis and characterization of novel silicone graft copolymers

Description

Silicone compounds have a very low surface energy due to highly flexible Si-O-Si backbone and large number of –CH3 groups, but these compounds are extremely hydrophobic and thus have limited applications in aqueous formulations. Modification of such silicone compounds by

Silicone compounds have a very low surface energy due to highly flexible Si-O-Si backbone and large number of –CH3 groups, but these compounds are extremely hydrophobic and thus have limited applications in aqueous formulations. Modification of such silicone compounds by grafting hydrophilic chains provides a wide range of silicone products called "Silicone Surfactants". Silicone surfactants are surface active agents which get adsorbed at the air-water interface thereby, reducing the interfacial tension. Some of the larger applications of silicone surfactant are in the manufacture of plastic foams, in personal care products and as spreading and wetting agents (Hill, R.M, 2002).

In this thesis, a series of silicone surfactant graft copolymers were synthesized via hydrosilylation reaction. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) of different chain length was grafted to a hydrophobic Poly(methylhydrosiloxane) (PMHS) backbone to improve the final hydrophilicity. Also, a positively charged quaternary ammonium salt (allyltriethylammonium bromide) was grafted to the PMHS backbone. The objective of this thesis was to synthesize polymers in predefined ratios of the above mentioned side groups and utilize these polymers to-

1) Study the effect of PEG chain length and its composition on the hydrophilicity of the polymer.

2) Study the effect of PEG: ammonium salt ratio on the surface tension of aqueous systems.

Analysis of FT-IR and 1H NMR spectra of the polymers confirmed the predicted structure. The absence of characteristic Si-H absorbance peak at 2160 cm-1 in FT-IR spectra indicates consumption of silane groups along the polymer backbone. The actual moles of the side chain grafted on the backbone are calculated by 1H NMR peak integration. The results of contact angle studies indicated an increase in hydrophilicity with an increase in the composition of PEG in molecule. A 2*2 factorial DOE analysis reported that the fraction of Si-H bonds converted to PEG grafts was the critical factor towards increasing the hydrophilicity (p value of 0.015). Surface tension studies report that the air-water interfacial tension of the synthesized polymers is between 28mN/m – 45mN/m. The amount of Si-H was concluded to be the deciding factor in lowering the surface tension.

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2016

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Modulation of mammalian cell behavior for enhancing polymer-mediated transgene expression

Description

Gene delivery is a broadly applicable tool that has applications in gene therapy, production of therapeutic proteins, and as a study tool to understand biological pathways. However, for successful gene delivery, the gene and its carrier must bypass or traverse

Gene delivery is a broadly applicable tool that has applications in gene therapy, production of therapeutic proteins, and as a study tool to understand biological pathways. However, for successful gene delivery, the gene and its carrier must bypass or traverse a number of formidable obstacles before successfully entering the cell’s nucleus where the host cell’s machinery can be utilized to express a protein encoded by the gene of interest. The vast majority of work in the gene delivery field focuses on overcoming these barriers by creative synthesis of nanoparticle delivery vehicles or conjugation of targeting moieties to the nucleic acid or delivery vehicle, but little work focuses on modifying the target cell’s behavior to make it more amenable to transfection.

In this work, a number of kinase enzymes have been identified by inhibition to be targets for enhancing polymer-mediated transgene expression (chapter 2), including the lead target which appears to affect intracellular trafficking of delivered nucleic acid cargo. The subsequent sections (chapters 3 and 4) of this work focus on targeting epigenetic modifying enzymes to enhance polymer-mediated transgene expression, and a number of candidate enzymes have been identified. Some mechanistic evaluation of these targets have been carried out and discussion of ongoing experiments and future directions to better understand the mechanistic descriptions behind the phenomena are discussed. The overall goal is to enhance non-viral (polymer-mediated) transgene expression by modulating cellular behavior for general gene delivery applications.

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2016

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Development and characterization of chemical resistant water separation composite membranes by using impermeable polymer matrix

Description

Water recovery from impaired sources, such as reclaimed wastewater, brackish groundwater, and ocean water, is imperative as freshwater resources are under great pressure. Complete reuse of urine wastewater is also necessary to sustain life on space exploration missions of greater

Water recovery from impaired sources, such as reclaimed wastewater, brackish groundwater, and ocean water, is imperative as freshwater resources are under great pressure. Complete reuse of urine wastewater is also necessary to sustain life on space exploration missions of greater than one year’s duration. Currently, the Water Recovery System (WRS) used on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shuttles recovers only 70% of generated wastewater.1 Current osmotic processes show high capability to increase water recovery from wastewater. However, commercial reverse osmosis (RO) membranes rapidly degrade when exposed to pretreated urine-containing wastewater. Also, non-ionic small molecules substances (i.e., urea) are very poorly rejected by commercial RO membranes.

In this study, an innovative composite membrane that integrates water-selective molecular sieve particles into a liquid-barrier chemically resistant polymer film is synthetized. This plan manipulates distinctive aspects of the two materials used to create the membranes: (1) the innate permeation and selectivity of the molecular sieves, and (2) the decay-resistant, versatile, and mechanical strength of the liquid-barrier polymer support matrix.

To synthesize the membrane, Linde Type A (LTA) zeolite particles are anchored to the porous substrate, producing a single layer of zeolite particles capable of transporting water through the membrane. Thereafter, coating the chemically resistant latex polymer filled the space between zeolites. Finally, excess polymer was etched from the surface to expose the zeolites to the feed solution. The completed membranes were tested in reverse osmosis mode with deionized water, sodium chloride, and rhodamine solutions to determine the suitability for water recovery.

The main distinguishing characteristics of the new membrane design compared with current composite membrane include: (1) the use of an impermeable polymer broadens the range of chemical resistant polymers that can be used as the polymer matrix; (2) the use of zeolite particles with specific pore size insures the high rejection of the neutral molecules since water is transported through the zeolite rather than the polymer; (3) the use of latex dispersions, environmentally friendly water based-solutions, as the polymer matrix shares the qualities of low volatile organic compound, low cost, and non- toxicity.

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2016

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Accelerated UV Testing and Characterization of PV Modules with UV-cut and UV-pass EVA Encapsulants

Description

Encapsulant is a key packaging component of photovoltaic (PV) modules, which protects the solar cell from physical, environmental and electrical damages. Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) is one of the major encapsulant materials used in the PV industry. This work focuses on

Encapsulant is a key packaging component of photovoltaic (PV) modules, which protects the solar cell from physical, environmental and electrical damages. Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) is one of the major encapsulant materials used in the PV industry. This work focuses on indoor accelerated ultraviolet (UV) stress testing and characterization to investigate the EVA discoloration and delamination in PV modules by using various non-destructive characterization techniques, including current-voltage (IV) measurements, UV fluorescence (UVf) and colorimetry measurements. Mini-modules with glass/EVA/cell/EVA/backsheet construction were fabricated in the laboratory with two types of EVA, UV-cut EVA (UVC) and UV-pass EVA (UVP).

The accelerated UV testing was performed in a UV chamber equipped with UV lights at an ambient temperature of 50°C, little or no humidity and total UV dosage of 400 kWh/m2. The mini-modules were maintained at three different temperatures through UV light heating by placing different thickness of thermal insulation sheets over the backsheet. Also, prior to thermal insulation sheet placement, the backsheet and laminate edges were fully covered with aluminum tape to prevent oxygen diffusion into the module and hence the photobleaching reaction.

The characterization results showed that mini-modules with UV-cut EVA suffered from discoloration while the modules with UV-pass EVA suffered from delamination. UVf imaging technique has the capability to identify the discoloration region in the UVC modules in the very early stage when the discoloration is not visible to the naked eyes, whereas Isc measurement is unable to measure the performance loss until the color becomes visibly darker. YI also provides the direct evidence of yellowing in the encapsulant. As expected, the extent of degradation due to discoloration increases with the increase in module temperature. The Isc loss is dictated by both the regions – discolored area at the center and non-discolored area at the cell edges, whereas the YI is only determined at the discolored region due to low probe area. This led to the limited correlation between Isc and YI in UVC modules.

In case of UVP modules, UV radiation has caused an adverse impact on the interfacial adhesion between the EVA and solar cell, which was detected from UVf images and severe Isc loss. No change in YI confirms that the reason for Isc loss is not due to yellowing but the delamination.

Further, the activation energy of encapsulant discoloration was estimated by using Arrhenius model on two types of data, %Isc drop and ΔYI. The Ea determined from the change in YI data for the EVA encapsulant discoloration reaction without the influence of oxygen and humidity is 0.61 eV. Based on the activation energy determined in this work and hourly weather data of any site, the degradation rate for the encaspulant browning mode can be estimated.

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Date Created
2018

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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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2018

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Electrode-Coated Inorganic Separators for High Performance and Safe Lithium-Ion and Lithium-Metal Batteries

Description

Lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries are deemed to be the choice of energy storage media for the future. However, they are not entirely safe and their performance in terms of cycle life and charging rates is sub-optimal. A majority of these

Lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries are deemed to be the choice of energy storage media for the future. However, they are not entirely safe and their performance in terms of cycle life and charging rates is sub-optimal. A majority of these issues arise from the currently used flammable polyolefinic separators and carbonate solvent based electrolytes. This work utilizes in-house developed and specific property tuned electrode-coated inorganic separators in combination with a fire-proof electrolyte to resolve the above stated concerns.Firstly, to improve the safety of the lithium-ion cell with a commercial polypropylene separator a thermally stable in-house developed electrode coated quartz silica separator is utilized. The silica separator due to its better electrolyte wettability, electrolyte uptake and lower resistance also offers better capacity retention (~ 15 %) at high rates of discharge. Subsequently, research on developing a completely safe lithium-ion battery was conducted by replacing the traditional carbonate solvent based electrolyte with a fire-proof lithium bis-fluoro sulphonyl-imide salt/tri-methyl phosphate solvent electrolyte. However, this electrolyte has a high viscosity and low separator wetting rate.
A microporous in house synthesized silicalite electrode-coated separator due to its high surface energy functionalizes the viscous fire-proof electrolyte and together they are tested in a full-cell. The intra-particle pores of the silicalite separator result in a thinner and more robust solid electrolyte interface on graphite. This results in about 20 % higher capacity retention during long term cycling when compared to the polypropylene separator used in the same full-cell.
To enable stable and fast charging lithium-metal batteries free from dendrite propagation related failure, plate shaped γ-alumina and silicalite electrode-coated separators with high tortuosity are developed and used in a lithium-metal full-cell battery, with the former separator having no intra-particle pores and the latter having them. The γ-alumina separators show improvements in dendrite propagation prevention up to 3 C-rate of charge/discharge but a loss in active lithium is seen beyond the 75th cycle. However, microporous plate-shaped silicalite separators did not show any loss in active lithium even at 3 C-rate for 100 cycles due to the homogenized lithium-ion flux at the anode, while also preventing dendrite propagation.

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2021

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Methylated and Unmethylated pDNA Delivery Comparison in Mammalian Cells

Description

In this study, the differences in delivery of methylated and unmethylated prokaryotic

DNA in mammalian cells was investigated. 3 plasmids, DH5-α, ER2925 and

GM272 were extracted and transformed from E. coli bacteria. DH5-α is the regular

methylated plasmid, however,ER2925 and GM272 lack Dam

In this study, the differences in delivery of methylated and unmethylated prokaryotic

DNA in mammalian cells was investigated. 3 plasmids, DH5-α, ER2925 and

GM272 were extracted and transformed from E. coli bacteria. DH5-α is the regular

methylated plasmid, however,ER2925 and GM272 lack Dam and Dcm enzymes which

methylate adenine and internal cytosine in prokaryotes respectively, hence they are

unmethylated. The 3 plasmids were delivered via different delivery vectors in two

cell lines, UMUC3 and MDA-MB-231 which are human bladder cancer cell line and

human triple negative breast cancer cell line, respectively.

Luciferase and BCA assay were carried out to quantify transgene expression to

compare the efficacy of gene delivery in three aforementioned plasmids. In addition,

hydrodynamic diameter and zeta potential was measured for all delivery vectors, to

correlate with other transgene expression data. The results show that methylated

plasmid has significantly higher transgene expression in mammalian cell lines. This

can be either a result of smaller size and more positive zeta potential that the methylated

plasmid had, or a result of having Dam and Dcm enzymes which enhance binding

of DNA and transcription factors and enhance gene expression. Having smaller size

and more positive zeta potential was proven to be the case for the methylated plasmid

in this study. However the latter hypothesis should be investigated furthermore.

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Date Created
2018

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Synthesis and Gas Transport Properties of Graphene Oxide Membranes

Description

Graphene oxide membranes have shown promising gas separation characteristics specially for hydrogen that make them of interest for industrial applications. However, the gas transport mechanism for these membranes is unclear due to inconsistent permeation and separation results reported in literature.

Graphene oxide membranes have shown promising gas separation characteristics specially for hydrogen that make them of interest for industrial applications. However, the gas transport mechanism for these membranes is unclear due to inconsistent permeation and separation results reported in literature. Graphene oxide membranes made by filtration, the most common synthesis method, contain wrinkles affecting their gas separation characteristics and the method itself is difficult to scale up. Moreover, the production of graphene oxide membranes with fine-tuned interlayer spacing for improved molecular separation is still a challenge. These unsolved issues will affect their potential impact on industrial gas separation applications.

In this study, high quality graphene oxide membranes are synthesized on polyester track etch substrates by different deposition methods and characterized by XRD, SEM, AFM as well as single gas permeation and binary (H2/CO2) separation experiments. Membranes are made from large graphene oxide sheets of different sizes (33 and 17 micron) using vacuum filtration to shed more light on their transport mechanism. Membranes are made from dilute graphene oxide suspension by easily scalable spray coating technique to minimize extrinsic wrinkle formation. Finally, Brodie’s derived graphene oxide sheets were used to prepare membranes with narrow interlayer spacing to improve their (H2/CO2) separation performance.

An inter-sheet and inner-sheet two-pathway model is proposed to explain the permeation and separation results of graphene oxide membranes obtained in this study. At room temperature, large gas molecules (CH4, N2, and CO2) permeate through inter-sheet pathway of the membranes, exhibiting Knudsen like diffusion characteristics, with the permeance for the small sheet membrane about twice that for the large sheet membrane. The small gases (H2 and He) exhibit much higher permeance, showing significant flow through an inner-sheet pathway, in addition to the flow through the inter-sheet pathway. Membranes prepared by spray coating offer gas characteristics similar to those made by filtration, however using dilute graphene oxide suspension in spray coating will help reduce the formation of extrinsic wrinkles which result in reduction in the porosity of the inter-sheet pathway where the transport of large gas molecules dominates. Brodie’s derived graphene oxide membranes showed overall low permeability and significant improvement in in H2/CO2 selectivity compared to membranes made using Hummers’ derived sheets due to smaller interlayer space height of Brodie’s sheets (~3 Å).

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2018

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Molecular Dynamic Simulations of Diffusion and Phase Behaviors of Colloidal Particles in Two-Component Liquid Systems

Description

A comprehensive and systematic investigation on the diffusion and phase behaviors of nanoparticles and macromolecules in two component liquid-liquid systems via Molecule Dynamic (MD) simulations is presented in this dissertation.

The interface of biphasic liquid systems has attracted great attention because

A comprehensive and systematic investigation on the diffusion and phase behaviors of nanoparticles and macromolecules in two component liquid-liquid systems via Molecule Dynamic (MD) simulations is presented in this dissertation.

The interface of biphasic liquid systems has attracted great attention because it offers a simple, flexible, and highly reproducible template for the assembly of a variety of nanoscale objects. However, certain important fundamental issues at the interface have not been fully explored, especially when the size of the object is comparable with the liquid molecules. In the first MD simulation system, the diffusion and self-assembly of nanoparticles with different size, shape and surface composition were studied in an oil/water system. It has been found that a highly symmetrical nanoparticle with uniform surface (e.g. buckyball) can lead to a better-defined solvation shell which makes the “effective radius” of the nanoparticle larger than its own radius, and thus, lead to slower transport (diffusion) of the nanoparticles across the oil-water interface. Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) is a thermoresponsive polymer with a Lower Critical Solution Temperature (LCST) of 32°C in pure water. It is one of the most widely studied stimulus-responsive polymers which can be fabricated into various forms of smart materials. However, current understanding about the diffusive and phase behaviors of PNIPAM in ionic liquids/water system is very limited. Therefore, two biphasic water-ionic liquids (ILs) systems were created to investigate the interfacial behavior of PNIPAM in such unique liquid-liquid interface. It was found the phase preference of PNIPAM below/above its LCST is dependent on the nature of ionic liquids. This potentially allows us to manipulate the interfacial behavior of macromolecules by tuning the properties of ionic liquids and minimizing the need for expensive polymer functionalization. In addition, to seek a more comprehensive understanding of the effects of ionic liquids on the phase behavior of PNIPAM, PNIPAM was studied in two miscible ionic liquids/water systems. The thermodynamic origin causes the reduction of LCST of PNIPAM in imidazolium based ionic liquids/water system was found. Energy analysis, hydrogen boding calculation and detailed structural quantification were presented in this study to support the conclusions.

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Date Created
2017

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Carbon Dioxide Transfer Characteristics of Hollow-Fiber, Composite Membranes

Description

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have reached unprecedented levels due to increasing anthropogenic emissions and increasing energy demand. CO2 capture and utilization can aid in stabilizing atmospheric CO2 levels and producing carbon-neutral fuels. Utilizing hollow fiber

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have reached unprecedented levels due to increasing anthropogenic emissions and increasing energy demand. CO2 capture and utilization can aid in stabilizing atmospheric CO2 levels and producing carbon-neutral fuels. Utilizing hollow fiber membranes (HFMs) for microalgal cultivation accomplishes that via bubbleless gas-transfer, preventing CO2 loss to the atmosphere. Various lengths and geometries of HFMs were used to deliver CO2 to a sodium carbonate solution. A model was developed to calculate CO2 flux, mass-transfer coefficient (KL), and volumetric mass-transfer coefficient (KLa) based on carbonate equilibrium and the alkalinity of the solution. The model was also applied to a sparging system, whose performance was compared with that of the HFMs. Typically, HFMs are operated in closed-end mode or open-end mode. The former is characterized by a high transfer efficiency, while the latter provides the advantage of a high transfer rate. HFMs were evaluated for both modes of operation and a varying inlet CO2 concentration to determine the effect of inert gas and water vapor accumulation on transfer rates. For pure CO2, a closed-end module operated as efficiently as an open-end module. Closed-end modules perform significantly worse when CO2-enriched air was supplied. This was shown by the KLa values calculated using the model. Finally, a mass-balance model was constructed for the lumen of the membranes in order to provide insight into the gas-concentration profiles inside the fiber lumen. For dilute CO2 inlet streams, accumulation of inert gases -- nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2), and water vapor (H2O) -- significantly affected module performance by reducing the average CO2 partial pressure in the membrane and diminishing the amount of interfacial mass-transfer area available for CO2 transfer.

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Date Created
2018