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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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Effects of Aging and Crystallization Time and Temperature in the Synthesis of Ideal Zeolite Linde Type A

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One of the grand challenges of engineering is to provide access to clean water because it is predicted that by 2025 more than two thirds of the world’s population will face severe water shortages. To combat this global issue,

One of the grand challenges of engineering is to provide access to clean water because it is predicted that by 2025 more than two thirds of the world’s population will face severe water shortages. To combat this global issue, our lab focuses on creating a novel composite membrane to recover potable water from waste. For use as the water-selective component in this membrane design Linde Type A zeolites were synthesized for optimal size without the use of a template. Current template-free synthesis of zeolite LTA produces particles that are too large for our application therefore the particle size was reduced in this study to reduce fouling of the membrane while also investigating the nanoparticle synthesis mechanisms. The time and temperature of the reaction and the aging of the precursor gel were systematically modified and observed to determine the optimal conditions for producing the particles. Scanning electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and energy dispersive x-ray analysis were used for characterization. Sub-micron sized particles were synthesized at 2 weeks aging time at -8°C with an average size of 0.6 micrometers, a size suitable for our membrane. There is a limit to the posterity and uniformity of particles produced from modifying the reaction time and temperature. All results follow general crystallization theory. Longer aging produced smaller particles, consistent with nucleation theory. Spinodal decomposition is predicted to affect nucleation clustering during aging due to the temperature scheme. Efforts will be made to shorten the effective aging time and these particles will eventually be incorporated into our mixed matrix osmosis membrane.

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2016-05

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Solution-Cast Membranes for Wastewater Recovery: A New Chemical-Resistant Nanocomposite Design

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The goal of this research project is to create a mixed matrix membrane that can withstand very acidic environments but still be used to purify water. The ultimate goal of this membrane is to be used to purify urine both

The goal of this research project is to create a mixed matrix membrane that can withstand very acidic environments but still be used to purify water. The ultimate goal of this membrane is to be used to purify urine both here on Earth and in space. The membrane would be able to withstand these harsh conditions due the incorporation of a resilient impermeable polymer layer that will be cast above the lower hydrophilic layer. Nanoparticles called zeolites will act as a water selective pathway through this impermeable layer and allow water to flow through the membrane. This membrane will be made using a variety of methods and polymers to determine both the cheapest and most effective way of creating this chemical resistant membrane. If this research is successful, many more water sources can be tapped since the membranes will be able to withstand hard conditions. This document is primarily focused on our progress on the development of a highly permeable polymer-zeolite film that makes up the bottom layer of the membrane. Multiple types of casting methods were investigated and it was determined that spin coating at 4000 rpm was the most effective. Based on a literature review, we selected silicalite-1 zeolites as the water-selective nanoparticle component dispersed in a casting solution of polyacrylonitrile in N-methylpyrrolidinone to comprise this hydrophilic layer. We varied the casting conditions of several simple solution-casting methods to produce thin films on the porous substrate with optimal film properties for our membrane design. We then cast this solution on other types of support materials that are more flexible and inexpensive to determine which combination resulted in the thinnest and most permeable film.

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2015-05

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

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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

Strategies for Recovery of Biosynthetic Styrene

Description

Styrene, a component of many rubber products, is currently synthesized from petroleum in a highly energy-intensive process. The Nielsen Laboratory at Arizona State has demonstrated a biochemical pathway by which E. coli can be engineered to produce styrene from the

Styrene, a component of many rubber products, is currently synthesized from petroleum in a highly energy-intensive process. The Nielsen Laboratory at Arizona State has demonstrated a biochemical pathway by which E. coli can be engineered to produce styrene from the amino acid phenylalanine, which E. coli naturally synthesizes from glucose. However, styrene becomes toxic to E. coli above concentrations of 300 mg/L, severely limiting the large-scale applicability of the pathway. Thus, styrene must somehow be continuously removed from the system to facilitate higher yields and for the purposes of scale-up. The separation methods of pervaporation and solvent extraction were investigated to this end. Furthermore, the styrene pathway was extended by one step to produce styrene oxide, which is less volatile than styrene and theoretically simpler to recover. Adsorption of styrene oxide using the hydrophobic resin L-493 was attempted in order to improve the yield of styrene oxide and to provide additional proof of concept that the flux through the styrene pathway can be increased. The maximum styrene titer achieved was 1.2 g/L using the method of solvent extraction, but this yield was only possible when additional phenylalanine was supplemented to the system.

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2013-05

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Separation of oil and other organics from water using inverse fluidization of hydrophobic aerogels

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This dissertation presents a systematic study of the sorption mechanisms of hydrophobic silica aerogel (Cabot Nanogel®) granules for oil and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in different phases. The performance of Nanogel for removing oil from laboratory synthetic oil-in-water emulsions and

This dissertation presents a systematic study of the sorption mechanisms of hydrophobic silica aerogel (Cabot Nanogel®) granules for oil and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in different phases. The performance of Nanogel for removing oil from laboratory synthetic oil-in-water emulsions and real oily wastewater, and VOCs from their aqueous solution, in both packed bed (PB) and inverse fluidized bed (IFB) modes was also investigated. The sorption mechanisms of VOCs in the vapor, pure liquid, and aqueous solution phases, free oil, emulsified oil, and oil from real wastewater on Nanogel were systematically studied via batch kinetics and equilibrium experiments. The VOC results show that the adsorption of vapor is very slow due to the extremely low thermal conductivity of Nanogel. The faster adsorption rates in the liquid and solution phases are controlled by the mass transport, either by capillary flow or by vapor diffusion/adsorption. The oil results show that Nanogel has a very high capacity for adsorption of pure oils. However, the rate for adsorption of oil from an oil-water emulsion on the Nanogel is 5-10 times slower than that for adsorption of pure oils or organics from their aqueous solutions. For an oil-water emulsion, the oil adsorption capacity decreases with an increasing proportion of the surfactant added. An even lower sorption capacity and a slower sorption rate were observed for a real oily wastewater sample due to the high stability and very small droplet size of the wastewater. The performance of Nanogel granules for removing emulsified oil, oil from real oily wastewater, and toluene at low concentrations in both PB and IFB modes was systematically investigated. The hydrodynamics characteristics of the Nanogel granules in an IFB were studied by measuring the pressure drop and bed expansion with superficial water velocity. The density of the Nanogel granules was calculated from the plateau pressure drop of the IFB. The oil/toluene removal efficiency and the capacity of the Nanogel granules in the PB or IFB were also measured experimentally and predicted by two models based on equilibrium and kinetic batch measurements of the Nanogel granules.

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2011

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Development of stimuli-responsive hydrogels integrated with ultra-thin silicon ribbons for stretchable and intelligent devices

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Electronic devices based on various stimuli responsive polymers are anticipated to have great potential for applications in innovative electronics due to their inherent intelligence and flexibility. However, the electronic properties of these soft materials are poor and the applications have

Electronic devices based on various stimuli responsive polymers are anticipated to have great potential for applications in innovative electronics due to their inherent intelligence and flexibility. However, the electronic properties of these soft materials are poor and the applications have been limited due to their weak compatibility with functional materials. Therefore, the integration of stimuli responsive polymers with other functional materials like Silicon is strongly demanded. Here, we present successful strategies to integrate environmentally sensitive hydrogels with Silicon, a typical high-performance electronic material, and demonstrate the intelligent and stretchable capability of this system. The goal of this project is to develop integrated smart devices comprising of soft stimuli responsive polymeric-substrates with conventional semiconductor materials such as Silicon, which can respond to various external stimuli like pH, temperature, light etc. Specifically, these devices combine the merits of high quality crystalline semiconductor materials and the mechanical flexibility/stretchability of polymers. Our innovative system consists of ultra-thin Silicon ribbons bonded to an intelligently stretchable substrate which is intended to interpret and exert environmental signals and provide the desired stress relief. As one of the specific examples, we chose as a substrate the standard thermo-sensitive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) hydrogel with fast response and large deformation. In order to make the surface of the hydrogel waterproof and smooth for high-quality Silicon transfer, we introduced an intermediate layer of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) between the substrate and the Silicon ribbons. The optical microscope results have shown that the system enables stiff Silicon ribbons to become adaptive and drivable by the soft environmentally sensitive substrate. Furthermore, we pioneered the development of complex geometries with two different methods: one is using stereolithography to electronically control the patterns and build up their profiles layer by layer; the other is integrating different multifunctional polymers. In this report, we have designed a bilayer structure comprising of a PNIPAAm hydrogel and a hybrid hydrogel of N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm) and acrylic acid (AA). Typical variable curvatures can be obtained by the hydrogels with different dimensional expansion. These structures hold interesting possibilities in the design of electronic devices with tunable curvature.

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2012

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Photocurable Networks: A Composite Materials Platform that Enables Advances in Additive Manufacturing

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This study aims to provide a foundation for future work on photo-responsive polymer composite materials to be utilized in additive manufacturing processes. The curing rate of 2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenyl-acetophenone (DMPA) in thin (<20 µm) and thick (>2 mm) layers of DMPA

This study aims to provide a foundation for future work on photo-responsive polymer composite materials to be utilized in additive manufacturing processes. The curing rate of 2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenyl-acetophenone (DMPA) in thin (<20 µm) and thick (>2 mm) layers of DMPA and poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEG-DA) mixtures was assessed for 5.0 w/v% (grams per 100 mL) concentrations of DMPA dissolved in PEG-DA. The polymerization rate and quality of curing was found to decrease as the concentration of DMPA increased beyond 1.0 w/v%; thus, confirming the existence of an optimum photo-initiator concentration for a specific sheet thickness. The optimum photo-initiator concentration for a 3-3.1 mm thick sheet of PEG-DA microstructure was determined to be between 0.3 and 0.38 w/v% DMPA. The addition of 1,6-hexanediol or 1,3-butanediol to the optimum photo-initiator concentrated solution of DMPA and PEG-DA was found to increase the Tg of the samples; however, the samples could not fully cure within 40-50 s, which suggested a decrease in polymerization rate. Lastly, the DMPA photo-initiator does not produce gaseous byproducts and is translucent when fully cured, which makes it attractive for infusion with strengthening materials because quality light penetration is paramount to quick polymerization rates. It is recommended that more trials be conducted to evaluate the mechanical properties of the optimum curing rate for DMPA and PEG-DA microstructures as well as a mechanical property comparison following the addition of either of the two alcohols.

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2016-12

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Modeling and analysis on pervaporation separation of composite zeolite membranes

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Pervaporation is a membrane separation technology that has had industrial application and which is the subject of ongoing research. Two major factors are important in judging the quality of a membrane: selectivity and permeation flux. Although many types of materials

Pervaporation is a membrane separation technology that has had industrial application and which is the subject of ongoing research. Two major factors are important in judging the quality of a membrane: selectivity and permeation flux. Although many types of materials can be used for the separation layer, zeolites will be the material considered in this thesis. A simple mathematical model has been developed to demonstrate the inter-relationships between relative permeation flux, reduced selectivity, and the relative resistance to mass transfer of the support to the zeolite layer. The model was applied to several membranes from our laboratory and to two examples from the literature. The model offers a useful way of conceptualizing membrane performance and facilitates the comparison of different membrane performances. The model predicts the effect of different supports on zeolite supported membrane performance.

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2014

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Continuous in-situ removal of butanol from clostridium acetobutylicum fermentations via expanded-bed adsorption

Description

The use of petroleum for liquid-transportation fuels has strained the environment and caused the global crude oil reserves to diminish. Therefore, there exists a need to replace petroleum as the primary fuel derivative. Butanol is a four-carbon alcohol that can

The use of petroleum for liquid-transportation fuels has strained the environment and caused the global crude oil reserves to diminish. Therefore, there exists a need to replace petroleum as the primary fuel derivative. Butanol is a four-carbon alcohol that can be used to effectively replace gasoline without changing the current automotive infrastructure. Additionally, butanol offers the same environmentally friendly effects as ethanol, but possess a 23% higher energy density. Clostridium acetobutylicum is an anaerobic bacterium that can ferment renewable biomass-derived sugars into butanol. However, this fermentation becomes limited by relatively low butanol concentrations (1.3% w/v), making this process uneconomical. To economically produce butanol, the in-situ product removal (ISPR) strategy is employed to the butanol fermentation. ISPR entails the removal of butanol as it is produced, effectively avoiding the toxicity limit and allowing for increased overall butanol production. This thesis explores the application of ISPR through integration of expanded-bed adsorption (EBA) with the C. acetobutylicum butanol fermentations. The goal is to enhance volumetric productivity and to develop a semi-continuous biofuel production process. The hydrophobic polymer resin adsorbent Dowex Optipore L-493 was characterized in cell-free studies to determine the impact of adsorbent mass and circulation rate on butanol loading capacity and removal rate. Additionally, the EBA column was optimized to use a superficial velocity of 9.5 cm/min and a resin fraction of 50 g/L. When EBA was applied to a fed-batch butanol fermentation performed under optimal operating conditions, a total of 25.5 g butanol was produced in 120 h, corresponding to an average yield on glucose of 18.6%. At this level, integration of EBA for in situ butanol recovered enabled the production of 33% more butanol than the control fermentation. These results are very promising for the production of butanol as a biofuel. Future work will entail the optimization of the fed-batch process for higher glucose utilization and development of a reliable butanol recovery system from the resin.

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2013