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Computational Modeling and Experimentation of Pervaporation Membrane Processes for Brackish Water Recovery

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Fresh water is essential to the human population and is an integral component in global economics for its multiple uses, and population growth/development cause concern for the possible exhaustion of the limited supply of freshwater. A combined computational and experimental

Fresh water is essential to the human population and is an integral component in global economics for its multiple uses, and population growth/development cause concern for the possible exhaustion of the limited supply of freshwater. A combined computational and experimental approach to observe and evaluate pervaporation membrane performance for brackish water recovery was done to assess its efficiency and practicality for real world application. Results from modeling conveyed accuracy to reported parameter values from literature as well as strong dependence of performance on input parameters such as temperature. Experimentation results showed improved performance in flux by 34%-42% with radiative effect and then additional performance improvement (9%-33%) with the photothermal effect from carbon black application. Future work will include improvements to the model to include scaling propensity and energy consumption as well as continued experimentation to assess quality of pervaporation in water recovery.

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2018-05

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A Stability Study of the MOF-5 Membrane

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Within recent years, metal-organic frameworks, or MOF’s, have gained a lot of attention in the materials research community. These micro-porous materials are constructed of a metal oxide core and organic linkers, and have a wide-variety of applications due to their

Within recent years, metal-organic frameworks, or MOF’s, have gained a lot of attention in the materials research community. These micro-porous materials are constructed of a metal oxide core and organic linkers, and have a wide-variety of applications due to their extensive material characteristic possibilities. The focus of this study is the MOF-5 material, specifically its chemical stability in air. The MOF-5 material has a large pore size of 8 Å, and aperture sizes of 15 and 12 Å. The pore size, pore functionality, and physically stable structure makes MOF-5 a desirable material. MOF-5 holds applications in gas/liquid separation, catalysis, and gas storage. The main problem with the MOF-5 material, however, is its instability in atmospheric air. This inherent instability is due to the water in air binding to the zinc-oxide core, effectively changing the material and its structure. Because of this material weakness, the MOF-5 material is difficult to be utilized in industrial applications. Through the research efforts proposed by this study, the stability of the MOF-5 powder and membrane were studied. MOF-5 powder and a MOF-5 membrane were synthesized and characterized using XRD analysis. In an attempt to improve the stability of MOF-5 in air, methyl groups were added to the organic linker in order to hinder the interaction of water with the Zn4O core. This was done by replacing the terepthalic acid organic linker with 2,5-dimethyl terephthalic acid in the powder and membrane synthesis steps. The methyl-modified MOF-5 powder was found to be stable after several days of exposure to air while the MOF-5 powder exhibited significant crystalline change. The methyl-modified membrane was found to be unstable when synthesized using the same procedure as the MOF-5 membrane.

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2016-05

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Bi-phase Synthesis of the Zirconium Metal-Organic Framework, UiO-66

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Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a new set of porous materials comprised of metals or metal clusters bonded together in a coordination system by organic linkers. They are becoming popular for gas separations due to their abilities to be tailored toward

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a new set of porous materials comprised of metals or metal clusters bonded together in a coordination system by organic linkers. They are becoming popular for gas separations due to their abilities to be tailored toward specific applications. Zirconium MOFs in particular are known for their high stability under standard temperature and pressure due to the strength of the Zirconium-Oxygen coordination bond. However, the acid modulator needed to ensure long range order of the product also prevents complete linker deprotonation. This leads to a powder product that cannot easily be incorporated into continuous MOF membranes. This study therefore implemented a new bi-phase synthesis technique with a deprotonating agent to achieve intergrowth in UiO-66 membranes. Crystal intergrowth will allow for effective gas separations and future permeation testing. During experimentation, successful intergrown UiO-66 membranes were synthesized and characterized. The degree of intergrowth and crystal orientations varied with changing deprotonating agent concentration, modulator concentration, and ligand:modulator ratios. Further studies will focus on achieving the same results on porous substrates.

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2016-12

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CO2 Reduction via Functionalized Protein/Organometallic Complexes

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As prices for fuel along with the demand for renewable resources grow, it becomes of paramount importance to develop new ways of obtaining the energy needed to carry out the tasks we face daily. Costs of production due to energy

As prices for fuel along with the demand for renewable resources grow, it becomes of paramount importance to develop new ways of obtaining the energy needed to carry out the tasks we face daily. Costs of production due to energy and time constraints impose severe limitations on what is viable. Biological systems, on the other hand, are innately efficient both in terms of time and energy by handling tasks at the molecular level. Utilizing this efficiency is at the core of this research. Proper manipulation of even common proteins can render complexes functionalized for specific tasks. In this case, the coupling of a rhenium-based organometallic ligand to a modified myoglobin containing a zinc porphyrin, allow for efficient reduction of carbon dioxide, resulting in energy that can be harnessed and byproducts which can be used for further processing. Additionally, a rhenium based ligand functionalized via biotin is tested in conjunction with streptavidin and ruthenium-bipyridine.

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2014-12

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Materials Replacement for Solar Thermal Covers

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Based on theoretical calculations, a material that is highly transmissive below 3000 nm and opaque above 3000 nm is desired to replace glass covers for flat plate solar thermal systems. Additionally, a suitable replacement material needs to have a sufficiently

Based on theoretical calculations, a material that is highly transmissive below 3000 nm and opaque above 3000 nm is desired to replace glass covers for flat plate solar thermal systems. Additionally, a suitable replacement material needs to have a sufficiently high operating temperature in order to prevent the glazing from melting and warping in a solar system. Traditional solar thermal applications use conventional soda lime glass or low iron content glass to accomplish this; however, this project aims to investigate acrylic, polycarbonate, and FEP film as suitable alternatives for conventional solar glazings. While UV-Vis and FT-IR spectroscopy indicate that these polymer substitutes may not be ideal when used alone, when used in combination with coatings and additives, these materials may present an opportunity for a glazing replacement. A model representing a flat plate solar collector was developed to qualitatively analyze the various materials and their performance. Using gathered spectroscopy data, the model was developed for a multi-glazing system and it was found that polymer substitutes could perform better in certain system configurations. To complete the model, the model must be verified using empirical data and coatings and additives investigated for the purposes of achieving the desired materials optical specifications.

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2016-05

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Electrical and Optical Characterization of Wide Band Gap Materials in the Zinc and Tin Oxynitride Family

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The investigation into wide band gap semiconductors for use in tandem solar cells has become an increasingly more researched area with many new absorbers outlining the landscape. Pairing silicon with another cheap wide band gap semiconductor absorber can generate more

The investigation into wide band gap semiconductors for use in tandem solar cells has become an increasingly more researched area with many new absorbers outlining the landscape. Pairing silicon with another cheap wide band gap semiconductor absorber can generate more efficient solar cell, which could continue to drive up the energy output from solar. One such recently researched wide band gap absorber is ZnSnN2. ZnSnN2 proves too difficult to form under most conditions, but has the necessary band gap to make it a potential earth abundant solar absorber. The deposition process for ZnSnN2 is usually conducted with Zn and Sn metal targets while flowing N2 gas. Due to restrictions with chamber depositions, instead ZnO and SnO2 targets were sputtered with N2 gas to attempt to form separate zinc and tin oxynitrides as an initial single target study prior to future combinatorial studies. The electrical and optical properties and crystal structure of these thin films were analyzed to determine the nitrogen incorporation in the thin films through X-ray diffraction, UV-Vis spectrophotometry, and 4-point probe measurements. The SnO2 thin films showed a clear response in the absorption coefficient leading but showed no observable XRD peak shift. Thus, it is unlikely that substantial amounts of nitrogen were incorporated into SnO¬2. ZnO showed a clear response increase in conductivity with N2 with an additional shift in the XRD peak at 300 °C and potential secondary phase peak. Nitrogen incorporation was achieved with fair amounts of certainty for the ZnO thin films.

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2019-05

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Engineering a Renewable Future: Improving Solar Technologies and the Engineer’s Role in a Green New Deal

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The goal of this research was to identify why the federal government should invest in solar research and development, and which areas of solar improvement should be focused on. Motivation for this can be found in the pressing need to

The goal of this research was to identify why the federal government should invest in solar research and development, and which areas of solar improvement should be focused on. Motivation for this can be found in the pressing need to prevent and reverse the effects of climate change, the inevitability of fossil fuel resources eventually running out, and the economic and job creation potential which solar energy holds. Additionally, it is important to note that the best course of action will involve a split of funding between current solar rollout and energy grid updating, and the R&D listed in this research. Upon examination, it can be seen that an energy revolution, led by a federal solar jobs program and a Green New Deal, would be both an ethically and economically beneficial solution. A transition from existing fossil fuel infrastructure to renewable, solar-powered infrastructure would not only be possible but highly beneficial in many aspects, including massive job creation, a more affordable, renewable energy solution to replace coal-fired plants, and no fuel spending or negotiation required.<br/>When examining which areas of solar improvement to focus on for R&D funding, four primary areas were identified, with solutions presented for each. These areas for improvement are EM capture, EM conversion efficiency, energy storage capacity, and the prevention of overheating. For each of these areas of improvement, affordable solutions that would greatly improve the efficiency and viability of solar as a primary energy source were identified. The most notable area that should be examined is solar storage, which would allow solar PV panels to overcome their greatest real and perceived obstacle, which is the inconsistent power generation. Solar storage is easily attainable, and with enough storage capacity, excess solar energy which would otherwise be wasted during the day can be stored and used during the night or cloudy weather as necessary. Furthermore, the implementation of highly innovative solutions, such as agrivoltaics, would allow for a solar revolution to occur.

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2021-05