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Augmenting Protocols for In-situ Separation of Biocompounds.

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In our modern world the source of for many chemicals is to acquire and refine oil. This process is becoming an expensive to the environment and to human health. Alternative processes for acquiring the final product have been developed but

In our modern world the source of for many chemicals is to acquire and refine oil. This process is becoming an expensive to the environment and to human health. Alternative processes for acquiring the final product have been developed but still need work. One product that is valuable is butanol. The normal process for butanol production is very intensive but there is a method to produce butanol from bacteria. This process is better because it is more environmentally safe than using oil. One problem however is that when the bacteria produce too much butanol it reaches the toxicity limit and stops the production of butanol. In order to keep butanol from reaching the toxicity limit an adsorbent is used to remove the butanol without harming the bacteria. The adsorbent is a mesoporous carbon powder that allows the butanol to be adsorbed on it. This thesis explores different designs for a magnetic separation process to extract the carbon powder from the culture.

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2015-05

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Carbonate-ceramic dual-phase membranes for high temperature carbon dioxide separation

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Emission of CO2 into the atmosphere has become an increasingly concerning issue as we progress into the 21st century Flue gas from coal-burning power plants accounts for 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions. The key to successful separation

Emission of CO2 into the atmosphere has become an increasingly concerning issue as we progress into the 21st century Flue gas from coal-burning power plants accounts for 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions. The key to successful separation and sequestration is to separate CO2 directly from flue gas (10-15% CO2, 70% N2), which can range from a few hundred to as high as 1000°C. Conventional microporous membranes (carbons/silicas/zeolites) are capable of separating CO2 from N2 at low temperatures, but cannot achieve separation above 200°C. To overcome the limitations of microporous membranes, a novel ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membrane for high temperature CO2 separation was proposed. The membrane was synthesized from porous La0.6Sr0.4Co0.8Fe0.2O3-d (LSCF) supports and infiltrated with molten carbonate (Li2CO3/Na2CO3/K2CO3). The CO2 permeation mechanism involves a reaction between CO2 (gas phase) and O= (solid phase) to form CO3=, which is then transported through the molten carbonate (liquid phase) to achieve separation. The effects of membrane thickness, temperature and CO2 partial pressure were studied. Decreasing thickness from 3.0 to 0.375 mm led to higher fluxes at 900°C, ranging from 0.186 to 0.322 mL.min-1.cm-2 respectively. CO2 flux increased with temperature from 700 to 900°C. Activation energy for permeation was similar to that for oxygen ion conduction in LSCF. For partial pressures above 0.05 atm, the membrane exhibited a nearly constant flux. From these observations, it was determined that oxygen ion conductivity limits CO2 permeation and that the equilibrium oxygen vacancy concentration in LSCF is dependent on the partial pressure of CO2 in the gas phase. Finally, the dual-phase membrane was used as a membrane reactor. Separation at high temperatures can produce warm, highly concentrated streams of CO2 that could be used as a chemical feedstock for the synthesis of syngas (H2 + CO). Towards this, three different membrane reactor configurations were examined: 1) blank system, 2) LSCF catalyst and 3) 10% Ni/y-alumina catalyst. Performance increased in the order of blank system < LSCF catalyst < Ni/y-alumina catalyst. Favorable conditions for syngas production were high temperature (850°C), low sweep gas flow rate (10 mL.min-1) and high methane concentration (50%) using the Ni/y-alumina catalyst.

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2011

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Synthesis and stability of ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membrane for carbon dioxide separation

Description

Of the potential technologies for pre-combustion capture, membranes offer the advantages of being temperature resistant, able to handle large flow rates, and having a relatively small footprint. A significant amount of research has centered on the use of polymeric and

Of the potential technologies for pre-combustion capture, membranes offer the advantages of being temperature resistant, able to handle large flow rates, and having a relatively small footprint. A significant amount of research has centered on the use of polymeric and microporous inorganic membranes to separate CO2. These membranes, however, have limitations at high temperature resulting in poor permeation performance. To address these limitations, the use of a dense dual-phase membrane has been studied. These membranes are composed of conductive solid and conductive liquid phases that have the ability to selectively permeate CO2 by forming carbonate ions that diffuse through the membrane at high temperature. The driving force for transport through the membrane is a CO2 partial pressure gradient. The membrane provides a theoretically infinite selectivity. To address stability of the ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membrane for CO2 capture at high temperature, the ceramic phase of the membrane was studied and replaced with materials previously shown to be stable in harsh conditions. The permeation properties and stability of La0.6Sr0.4Co0.8Fe0.2O3-δ (LSCF)-carbonate, La0.85Ce0.1Ga0.3Fe0.65Al0.05O3-δ (LCGFA)-carbonate, and Ce0.8Sm0.2O1.9 (SDC)-carbonate membranes were examined under a wide range of experimental conditions at high temperature. LSCF-carbonate membranes were shown to be unstable without the presence of O2 due to reaction of CO2 with the ceramic phase. In the presence of O2, however, the membranes showed stable permeation behavior for more than one month at 900oC. LCGFA-carbonate membranes showed great chemical and permeation stability in the presence of various conditions including exposure to CH4 and H2, however, the permeation performance was quite low when compared to membranes in the literature. Finally, SDC-carbonate membranes showed great chemical and permeation stability both in a CO2:N2 environment for more than two weeks at 900oC as well as more than one month of exposure to simulated syngas conditions at 700oC. Ceramic phase chemical stability increased in the order of LSCF < LCGFA < SDC while permeation performance increased in the order of LCGFA < LSCF < SDC.

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2013

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Engineering of Arson Forensics and Fire Debris Investigation: The Scientific, Social, and Curricular Impact

Description

Arson and intentional fires account for significant property losses and over 400 civilian deaths yearly in the United States. However, clearance rates for arson offenses remain low relative to other crimes. This issue can be attributed in part to the

Arson and intentional fires account for significant property losses and over 400 civilian deaths yearly in the United States. However, clearance rates for arson offenses remain low relative to other crimes. This issue can be attributed in part to the challenges associated with performing an arson investigation, in particular the collection and interpretation of reliable data. PLOT-cryoadsorption, a dynamic headspace sampling technique developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, was proposed as an alternate technique for extracting ignitable liquid residues for analysis. The method was generally shown to be robust, flexible, precise, and accurate for a variety of applications. The possibility of using a real-time in situ monitor for screening samples was also discussed. This work, conducted by an undergraduate researcher, has implications in educational curricula as well as in the field of forensic science.

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2013-05

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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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A novel control engineering approach to designing and optimizing adaptive sequential behavioral interventions

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Control engineering offers a systematic and efficient approach to optimizing the effectiveness of individually tailored treatment and prevention policies, also known as adaptive or ``just-in-time'' behavioral interventions. These types of interventions represent promising strategies for addressing many significant public health

Control engineering offers a systematic and efficient approach to optimizing the effectiveness of individually tailored treatment and prevention policies, also known as adaptive or ``just-in-time'' behavioral interventions. These types of interventions represent promising strategies for addressing many significant public health concerns. This dissertation explores the development of decision algorithms for adaptive sequential behavioral interventions using dynamical systems modeling, control engineering principles and formal optimization methods. A novel gestational weight gain (GWG) intervention involving multiple intervention components and featuring a pre-defined, clinically relevant set of sequence rules serves as an excellent example of a sequential behavioral intervention; it is examined in detail in this research.

 

A comprehensive dynamical systems model for the GWG behavioral interventions is developed, which demonstrates how to integrate a mechanistic energy balance model with dynamical formulations of behavioral models, such as the Theory of Planned Behavior and self-regulation. Self-regulation is further improved with different advanced controller formulations. These model-based controller approaches enable the user to have significant flexibility in describing a participant's self-regulatory behavior through the tuning of controller adjustable parameters. The dynamic simulation model demonstrates proof of concept for how self-regulation and adaptive interventions influence GWG, how intra-individual and inter-individual variability play a critical role in determining intervention outcomes, and the evaluation of decision rules.

 

Furthermore, a novel intervention decision paradigm using Hybrid Model Predictive Control framework is developed to generate sequential decision policies in the closed-loop. Clinical considerations are systematically taken into account through a user-specified dosage sequence table corresponding to the sequence rules, constraints enforcing the adjustment of one input at a time, and a switching time strategy accounting for the difference in frequency between intervention decision points and sampling intervals. Simulation studies illustrate the potential usefulness of the intervention framework.

The final part of the dissertation presents a model scheduling strategy relying on gain-scheduling to address nonlinearities in the model, and a cascade filter design for dual-rate control system is introduced to address scenarios with variable sampling rates. These extensions are important for addressing real-life scenarios in the GWG intervention.

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2014

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Evaluation of vapor intrusion pathway assessment through long-term monitoring studies

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Vapor intrusion (VI) pathway assessment often involves the collection and analysis of groundwater, soil gas, and indoor air data. There is temporal variability in these data, but little is understood about the characteristics of that variability and how it

Vapor intrusion (VI) pathway assessment often involves the collection and analysis of groundwater, soil gas, and indoor air data. There is temporal variability in these data, but little is understood about the characteristics of that variability and how it influences pathway assessment decision-making. This research included the first-ever collection of a long-term high-frequency indoor air data set at a house with VI impacts overlying a dilute chlorinated solvent groundwater plume. It also included periodic synoptic snapshots of groundwater and soil gas data and high-frequency monitoring of building conditions and environmental factors. Indoor air trichloroethylene (TCE) concentrations varied over three orders-of-magnitude under natural conditions, with the highest daily VI activity during fall, winter, and spring months. These data were used to simulate outcomes from common sampling strategies, with the result being that there was a high probability (up to 100%) of false-negative decisions and poor characterization of long-term exposure. Temporal and spatial variability in subsurface data were shown to increase as the sampling point moves from source depth to ground surface, with variability of an order-of-magnitude or more for sub-slab soil gas. It was observed that indoor vapor sources can cause subsurface vapor clouds and that it can take days to weeks for soil gas plumes created by indoor sources to dissipate following indoor source removal. A long-term controlled pressure method (CPM) test was conducted to assess its utility as an alternate approach for VI pathway assessment. Indoor air concentrations were similar to maximum concentrations under natural conditions (9.3 μg/m3 average vs. 13 μg/m3 for 24 h TCE data) with little temporal variability. A key outcome was that there were no occurrences of false-negative results. Results suggest that CPM tests can produce worst-case exposure conditions at any time of the year. The results of these studies highlight the limitations of current VI pathway assessment approaches and demonstrate the need for robust alternate diagnostic tools, such as CPM, that lead to greater confidence in data interpretation and decision-making.

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2015

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Chemical interactions of air pollutants: air pollutant control and sensing applications

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Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are central to atmospheric chemistry and have significant impacts on the environment. The reaction of oxygenated VOCs with OH radicals was first studied to understand the fate of oxygenated VOCs. The rate constants of the gas-phase

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are central to atmospheric chemistry and have significant impacts on the environment. The reaction of oxygenated VOCs with OH radicals was first studied to understand the fate of oxygenated VOCs. The rate constants of the gas-phase reaction of OH radicals with trans-2-hexenal, trans-2-octenal, and trans-2 nonenal were determined using the relative rate technique. Then the interactions between VOCs and ionic liquid surfaces were studied. The goal was to find a material to selectively detect alcohol compounds. Computational chemistry calculations were performed to investigate the interactions of ionic liquids with different classes of VOCs. The thermodynamic data suggest that 1-butyl-3-methylimindazolium chloride (C4mimCl) preferentially interacts with alcohols as compared to other classes of VOCs. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to probe the ionic liquid surface before and after exposure to the VOCs that were tested. New spectral features were detected after exposure of C4mimCl to various alcohols and a VOC mixture with an alcohol in it. The new features are characteristic of the alcohols tested. No new IR features were detected after exposure of the C4mimCl to the aldehyde, ketone, alkane, alkene, alkyne or aromatic compounds. The experimental results demonstrated that C4mimCl is selective to alcohols, even in complex mixtures. The kinetic study of the association and dissociation of alcohols with C4minCl surfaces was performed. The findings in this work provide information for future gas-phase alcohol sensor design. CO2 is a major contributor to global warming. An ionic liquid functionalized reduced graphite oxide (IL-RGO)/ TiO2 nanocomposite was synthesized and used to reduce CO2 to a hydrocarbon in the presence of H2O vapor. The SEM image revealed that IL-RGO/TiO2 contained separated reduced graphite oxide flakes with TiO2 nanoparticles. Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy was used to study the conversion of CO2 and H2O vapor over the IL-RGO/TiO2 catalyst. Under UV-Vis irradiation, CH4 was found to form after just 40 seconds of irradiation. The concentration of CH4 continuously increased under longer irradiation time. This research is particularly important since it seems to suggest the direct, selective formation of CH4 as opposed to CO.

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2012

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Synthesis and charaterization of thin ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membranes for carbon dioxide separation

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High temperature CO2 perm-selective membranes offer potential for uses in various processes for CO2 separation. Recently, efforts are reported on fabrication of dense ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membranes. The membranes provide selective permeation to CO2 and exhibit high permeation flux at high

High temperature CO2 perm-selective membranes offer potential for uses in various processes for CO2 separation. Recently, efforts are reported on fabrication of dense ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membranes. The membranes provide selective permeation to CO2 and exhibit high permeation flux at high temperature. Research on transport mechanism demonstrates that gas transport for ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membrane is rate limited by ion transport in ceramic support. Reducing membrane thickness proves effective to improve permeation flux. This dissertation reports strategy to prepare thin ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membranes to increase CO2 permeance. The work also presents characteristics and gas permeation properties of the membranes. Thin ceramic-carbonate dual-phase membrane was constructed with an asymmetric porous support consisting of a thin small-pore ionic conducting ceramic top-layer and a large pore base support. The base support must be carbonate non-wettable to ensure formation of supported dense, thin membrane. Macroporous yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) layer was prepared on large pore Bi1.5Y0.3Sm0.2O3-δ (BYS) base support using suspension coating method. Thin YSZ-carbonate dual-phase membrane (d-YSZ/BYS) was prepared via direct infiltrating Li/Na/K carbonate mixtures into top YSZ layers. The thin membrane of 10 μm thick offered a CO2 flux 5-10 times higher than the thick dual-phase membranes. Ce0.8Sm0.2O1.9 (SDC) exhibited highest CO2 flux and long-term stability and was chosen as ceramic support for membrane performance improvement. Porous SDC layers were co-pressed on base supports using SDC and BYS powder mixtures which provided better sintering comparability and carbonate non-wettability. Thin SDC-carbonate dual-phase membrane (d-SDC/SDC60BYS40) of 150 μm thick was synthesized on SDC60BYS40. CO2 permeation flux for d-SDC/SDC60BYS40 exhibited increasing dependence on temperature and partial pressure gradient. The flux was higher than other SDC-based dual-phase membranes. Reducing membrane thickness proves effective to increase CO2 permeation flux for the dual-phase membrane.

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2014

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Synthesis and characterization of microporous inorganic membranes for propylene/propane separation

Description

Membrane-based gas separation is promising for efficient propylene/propane (C3H6/C3H8) separation with low energy consumption and minimum environment impact. Two microporous inorganic membrane candidates, MFI-type zeolite membrane and carbon molecular sieve membrane (CMS) have demonstrated excellent thermal and chemical stability. Application

Membrane-based gas separation is promising for efficient propylene/propane (C3H6/C3H8) separation with low energy consumption and minimum environment impact. Two microporous inorganic membrane candidates, MFI-type zeolite membrane and carbon molecular sieve membrane (CMS) have demonstrated excellent thermal and chemical stability. Application of these membranes into C3H6/C3H8 separation has not been well investigated. This dissertation presents fundamental studies on membrane synthesis, characterization and C3H6/C3H8 separation properties of MFI zeolite membrane and CMS membrane.

MFI zeolite membranes were synthesized on α-alumina supports by secondary growth method. Novel positron annihilation spectroscopy (PAS) techniques were used to non-destructively characterize the pore structure of these membranes. PAS reveals a bimodal pore structure consisting of intracrystalline zeolitic micropores of ~0.6 nm in diameter and irregular intercrystalline micropores of 1.4 to 1.8 nm in size for the membranes. The template-free synthesized membrane exhibited a high permeance but a low selectivity in C3H6/C3H8 mixture separation.

CMS membranes were synthesized by coating/pyrolysis method on mesoporous γ-alumina support. Such supports allow coating of thin, high-quality polymer films and subsequent CMS membranes with no infiltration into support pores. The CMS membranes show strong molecular sieving effect, offering a high C3H6/C3H8 mixture selectivity of ~30. Reduction in membrane thickness from 500 nm to 300 nm causes an increase in C3H8 permeance and He/N2 selectivity, but a decrease in the permeance of He, N2 and C3H6 and C3H6/C3H8 selectivity. This can be explained by the thickness dependent chain mobility of the polymer film resulting in final carbon membrane of reduced pore size with different effects on transport of gas of different sizes, including possible closure of C3H6-accessible micropores.

CMS membranes demonstrate excellent C3H6/C3H8 separation performance over a wide range of feed pressure, composition and operation temperature. No plasticization was observed at a feed pressure up to 100 psi. The permeation and separation is mainly controlled by diffusion instead of adsorption. CMS membrane experienced a decline in permeance, and an increase in selectivity over time under on-stream C3H6/C3H8 separation. This aging behavior is due to the reduction in effective pore size and porosity caused by oxygen chemisorption and physical aging of the membrane structure.

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2015