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Enhancing the Profile of Chemical Engineers as Relevant to Society amongst Middle School and High School Students

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The objective of this research study is to assess the effectiveness of a poster-based messaging campaign and engineering-based activities for middle school and high school students to encourage students to explore and to pursue chemical engineering. Additionally, presentations are incorporated

The objective of this research study is to assess the effectiveness of a poster-based messaging campaign and engineering-based activities for middle school and high school students to encourage students to explore and to pursue chemical engineering. Additionally, presentations are incorporated into both methods to provide context and improve understanding of the presented poster material or activity. Pre-assessments and post-assessments are the quantitative method of measuring effectiveness. For the poster campaign, ASU juniors and seniors participated in the poster campaign by producing socially relevant messages about their research or aspirations to address relevant chemical engineering problems. For the engineering-based activity, high school students participated in an Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering program "Young Engineers Shape the World" in which the students participated in six-hour event learning about four engineering disciplines, and the chemical engineering presentation and activity was conducted in one of the sessions. Pre-assessments were given at the beginning of the event, and the post-assessments were provided towards the end of the event. This honors thesis project will analyze the collected data.

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2017-05

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Statistical Investigations of Parameters that Drive High-Shear Granulation

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Granulation is a process within particle technology where a liquid binding agent is added to a powder bed to create larger granules to modify bulk properties for easier processing. Three sets of experiments were conducted to screen for which

Granulation is a process within particle technology where a liquid binding agent is added to a powder bed to create larger granules to modify bulk properties for easier processing. Three sets of experiments were conducted to screen for which factors had the greatest effect on granule formation, size distribution, and morphological properties when wet granulating microcrystalline cellulose and water. Previous experiments had identified the different growth regimes within wet granulation, as well as the granule formation mechanisms in single-drop granulation experiments, but little research has been conducted to determine how results extracted from single drop experiments could be used to better understand the first principles that drive high shear granulation. The experiment found that under a liquid solid ratio of 110%, the granule growth rate was linear as opposed to the induction growth regime experienced at higher liquid solid ratios. L/S ratios less than 100% led to a bimodal distribution comprised of large distributions of ungranulated powder and large irregular granules. Insufficient water hampered the growth of granules due to lack of enough water bridges to connect the granules and powder, while the large molecules continued to agglomerate with particles as they rotated around the mixer. The nozzle end was augmented so that drop size as well as drop height could be adjusted and compared to single-drop granulation experiments in proceeding investigations. As individual factors, neither augmentation had significant contributions to granule size, but preliminary screens identified that interaction between increasing L/S ratio and decreasing drop size could lead to narrower distributions of particles as well as greater circularity. Preliminary screening also identified that decreasing the drop height of the nozzle could increase the rate of particle growth during the 110% L/S trials without changing the growth mechanisms, indicating a way to alter the rate of steady-state particle growth. This paper screens for which factors are most pertinent to associating single-drop and wet granulation in order to develop granulation models that can ascertain information from single-drop granulations and predict the shape and size distribution of any wet granulation, without the need to run costly wet granulation experiments.

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2019

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Designing Sorbent-Containing Electrospun Fibers For Dilute Chemical Separations

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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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Synthesis and Characterization of Amphiphilic molecules for their use in health care industry

Description

Amphipathic molecules consist of hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions, which make them surface-active molecules. The uniqueness of these compounds results in inducing low surface tension and self-assembly of the molecules inside a solvent which have been exploited in personal care, the

Amphipathic molecules consist of hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions, which make them surface-active molecules. The uniqueness of these compounds results in inducing low surface tension and self-assembly of the molecules inside a solvent which have been exploited in personal care, the oil industry and agriculture industry. Amphipathic molecules are also used in the healthcare industry as drug delivery systems and other bio-nanotechnology applications.

In this thesis, a novel series of grafted siloxanes have been explored for their probable application in the healthcare industry. The siloxanes are grafted with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and quaternary ammonium salt (QUAT). The effects of varying 1) molar ratios of QUAT to PEG and 2) PEG chain length on contact angle, surface tension, critical micelle concentration (CMC), and micelle assembly properties were studied. In contact angle experiments, the hydrophilicity of grafted siloxanes increased by grafting PEG and QUAT. The amphiphilicity increases and CMC decreases as the PEG chain length shortens. Adding QUAT also reduces CMC. These trends were observed in surface tension and Isothermal Titration Calorimetry experiments. A change in self-assembly behaviour was also observed in Dynamic Light Scattering experiments upon increasing the PEG chain length and its ratio relative to the quaternary ammonium in the siloxane polymer.

These polymers have also been studied for their probable application as a sensitive 1H NMR spectroscopy indicator of tissue oxygenation (pO2) based on spectroscopic spin-lattice relaxometry. The proton imaging of siloxanes to map tissue oxygenation levels (PISTOL) technique is used to map T1 of siloxane polymer, which is correlated to dynamic changes in tissue pO2 at various locations by a linear relationship between pO2 and 1/T1. The T1-weighted echo spin signals were observed in an initial study of siloxanes using the PISTOL technique.

The change in the ratio of QUAT to PEG and the varying chain length of PEG have a significant effect on the physical property characteristics of siloxane graft copolymers. The conclusions and observations of the present work serve as a benchmark study for further development of adaptive polymers and for the creation of integrated “nanoscale” probes for PISTOL oximetry and drug delivery.

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2018

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A Portable Colorimetric Sensing Platform for the Evaluation of Carbon Dioxide in Breath

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This work describes the development of a device for measuring CO2 in breath, which has applications in monitoring a variety of health issues, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, and cardiovascular disease. The device takes advantage of colorimetric

This work describes the development of a device for measuring CO2 in breath, which has applications in monitoring a variety of health issues, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma, and cardiovascular disease. The device takes advantage of colorimetric sensing technology in order to maintain a low cost and high user-friendliness. The sensor consists of a pH dye, reactive element, and base coated on a highly porous Teflon membrane. The transmittance of the sensor is measured in the device via a simple LED/photodiode system, along with the flow rate, ambient relative humidity, and barometric pressure. The flow is measured by a newly developed flow meter described in this work, the Confined Pitot Tube (CPT) flow meter, which provides a high accuracy with reduced flow-resistance with a standard differential pressure transducer. I demonstrate in this work that the system has a high sensitivity, high specificity, fast time-response, high reproducibility, and good stability. The sensor has a simple calibration method which requires no action by the user, and utilizes a sophisticated, yet lightweight, model in order to predict temperature changes on the sensor during breathing and track changes in water content. It is shown to be effective for measuring CO2 waveform parameters on a breath-by-breath basis, such as End-Tidal CO2, Alveolar Plateau Slope, and Beginning Exhalation Slope.

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2017

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Sensors and Their Applications for Connected Health and Environment

Description

Connected health is an emerging field of science and medicine that enables the collection and integration of personal biometrics and environment, contributing to more precise and accurate assessment of the person’s state. It has been proven to help to establish

Connected health is an emerging field of science and medicine that enables the collection and integration of personal biometrics and environment, contributing to more precise and accurate assessment of the person’s state. It has been proven to help to establish wellbeing as well as prevent, diagnose, and determine the prognosis of chronic diseases. The development of sensing devices for connected health is challenging because devices used in the field of medicine need to meet not only selectivity and sensitivity of detection, but also robustness and performance under hash usage conditions, typically by non-experts in analysis. In this work, the properties and fabrication process of sensors built for sensing devices capable of detection of a biomarker as well as pollutant levels in the environment are discussed. These sensing devices have been developed and perfected with the aim of overcoming the aforementioned challenges and contributing to the evolving connected health field. In the first part of this work, a wireless, solid-state, portable, and continuous ammonia (NH3) gas sensing device is introduced. This device determines the concentration of NH3 contained in a biological sample within five seconds and can wirelessly transmit data to other Bluetooth enabled devices. In this second part of the work, the use of a thermal-based flow meter to assess exhalation rate is evaluated. For this purpose, a mobile device named here mobile indirect calorimeter (MIC) was designed and used to measure resting metabolic rate (RMR) from subjects, which relies on the measure of O2 consumption rate (VO2) and CO2 generation rate (VCO2), and compared to a practical reference method in hospital. In the third part of the work, the sensing selectivity, stability and sensitivity of an aged molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) selective to the adsorption of hydrocarbons were studied. The optimized material was integrated in tuning fork sensors to detect environmental hydrocarbons, and demonstrated the needed stability for field testing. Finally, the hydrocarbon sensing device was used in conjunction with a MIC to explore potential connections between hydrocarbon exposure level and resting metabolic rate of individuals. Both the hydrocarbon sensing device and the metabolic rate device were under field testing. The correlation between the hydrocarbons and the resting metabolic rate were investigated.

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2018

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Heat Transfer in a Rotary Drum Using Infrared Camera Temperature Measurement

Description

Rotary drums are commonly used for their high heat and mass transfer rates in the manufacture of cement, pharmaceuticals, food, and other particulate products. These processes are difficult to model because the particulate behavior is governed by the process conditions

Rotary drums are commonly used for their high heat and mass transfer rates in the manufacture of cement, pharmaceuticals, food, and other particulate products. These processes are difficult to model because the particulate behavior is governed by the process conditions such as particle size, particle size distribution, shape, composition, and operating parameters, such as fill level and rotation rate. More research on heat transfer in rotary drums will increase operating efficiency, leading to significant energy savings on a global scale.

This research utilizes infrared imaging to investigate the effects of fill level and rotation rate on the particle bed hydrodynamics and the average wall-particle heat transfer coefficient. 3 mm silica beads and a stainless steel rotary drum with a diameter of 6 in and a length of 3 in were used at fill levels of 10 %, 17.5 %, and 25 %, and rotation rates of 2 rpm, 6 rpm, and 10 rpm. Two full factorial designs of experiments were completed to understand the effects of these factors in the presence of conduction only (Case 1) and conduction with forced convection (Case 2). Particle-particle friction caused the particle bed to stagnate at elevated temperatures in Case 1, while the inlet air velocity in Case 2 dominated the particle friction effects to maintain the flow profile. The maximum heat transfer coefficient was achieved at a high rotation rate and low fill level in Case 1, and at a high rotation rate and high fill level in Case 2. Heat losses from the system were dominated by natural convection between the hot air in the drum and the external surroundings.

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2019

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Electrospun Pretreatment Membranes

Description

Managing water resources has become one of the most pressing concerns of scientists both in academia and industry. The reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment process is a well-researched technology among the pressure driven processes to produce potable water. RO is

Managing water resources has become one of the most pressing concerns of scientists both in academia and industry. The reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment process is a well-researched technology among the pressure driven processes to produce potable water. RO is an energy intensive process and often RO membranes are susceptible to fouling and scaling that drives up operational cost and hinder the efficiency. To increase the performance of RO membranes the feed water is pretreated to remove pollutants before desalination. This work aims to fabricate pretreatment membranes to prevent the effects of fouling and scaling by introducing hydrophilic character to membrane. This work explores electrospinning, a cost-effective and scalable technique, to blend two polymers into a nonwoven membrane comprised of fibers ~100 nm - 10 µm in diameter.

A rotary drum collector holding the mat was used to simultaneously collect the electrospun hydrophobic poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) and hydrophilic poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) fibers from two separate solutions. The hydrophilicity of the resulting membrane was tuned by controlling the relative deposition rate of PVA onto the co-spun mat. Fiber diameter and morphologies were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and Confocal fluorescence microscopy further confirmed the presence of both polymers. Moreover, a rigorous analysis to map the PVA/PVC concentration was established to accurately report the relative concentrations of the two polymers on the co-spun mat. After electrospinning, the PVA in the co-spun mats were cross-linked with poly(ethylene glycol) diacid to impart mechanical strength and tune the porosity.

EDS analysis revealed inconsistencies in the mass deposition of both polymers suggesting an improvement in the current experimental design to establish a meaningful relationship between PVA concentration and hydrophilicity. However, tensile test revealed that co-spun mats with high mass flow ratios of PVA possessed high mechanical strength showing a significant improvement in the Young’s Modulus. Furthermore, the co-spun mats were challenged with filtration experiments expecting a positive correlation of flux with PVA concentration. But it was found that with increased concentration, crosslinked PVA constricted PVC fibers minimizing the pores causing a lower flux and a dense membrane structure suitable for filtration.

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2020

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Multifunctional Soft Materials: Design, Development and Applications

Description

Soft materials are matters that can easily deform from their original shapes and structures under thermal or mechanical stresses, and they range across various groups of materials including liquids, foams, gels, colloids, polymers, and biological substances. Although soft materials already

Soft materials are matters that can easily deform from their original shapes and structures under thermal or mechanical stresses, and they range across various groups of materials including liquids, foams, gels, colloids, polymers, and biological substances. Although soft materials already have numerous applications with each of their unique characteristics, integrating materials to achieve complementary functionalities is still a growing need for designing advanced applications of complex requirements. This dissertation explores a unique approach of utilizing intermolecular interactions to accomplish not only the multifunctionality from combined materials but also their tailored properties designed for specific tasks. In this work, multifunctional soft materials are explored in two particular directions, ionic liquids (ILs)-based mixtures and interpenetrating polymer network (IPN).

First, ILs-based mixtures were studied to develop liquid electrolytes for molecular electronic transducers (MET) in planetary exploration. For space missions, it is challenging to operate any liquid electrolytes in an extremely low-temperature environment. By tuning intermolecular interactions, the results demonstrated a facile method that has successfully overcome the thermal and transport barriers of ILs-based mixtures at extremely low temperatures. Incorporation of both aqueous and organic solvents in ILs-based electrolyte systems with varying types of intermolecular interactions are investigated, respectively, to yield optimized material properties supporting not only MET sensors but also other electrochemical devices with iodide/triiodide redox couple targeting low temperatures.

Second, an environmentally responsive hydrogel was synthesized via interpenetrating two crosslinked polymer networks. The intermolecular interactions facilitated by such an IPN structure enables not only an upper critical solution temperature (UCST) transition but also a mechanical enhancement of the hydrogel. The incorporation of functional units validates a positive swelling response to visible light and also further improves the mechanical properties. This studied IPN system can serve as a promising route in developing “smart” hydrogels utilizing visible light as a simple, inexpensive, and remotely controllable stimulus.

Over two directions across from ILs to polymeric networks, this work demonstrates an effective strategy of utilizing intermolecular interactions to not only develop multifunctional soft materials for advanced applications but also discover new properties beyond their original boundaries.

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2020