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Design of Metal-Organic Frameworks for Carbon Capture Applications: Approaches for Adsorptive Separation of CO2/N2 and O2/N2 Mixtures

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The large-scale anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere leads to many unintended consequences, from rising sea levels to ocean acidification. While a clean energy infrastructure is growing, mid-term strategies that are compatible with the current infrastructure should be

The large-scale anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere leads to many unintended consequences, from rising sea levels to ocean acidification. While a clean energy infrastructure is growing, mid-term strategies that are compatible with the current infrastructure should be developed. Carbon capture and storage in fossil-fuel power plants is one way to avoid our current gigaton-scale emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, for this to be possible, separation techniques are necessary to remove the nitrogen from air before combustion or from the flue gas after combustion. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a relatively new class of porous material that show great promise for adsorptive separation processes. Here, potential mechanisms of O2/N2 separation and CO2/N2 separation are explored.

First, a logical categorization of potential adsorptive separation mechanisms in MOFs is outlined by comparing existing data with previously studied materials. Size-selective adsorptive separation is investigated for both gas systems using molecular simulations. A correlation between size-selective equilibrium adsorptive separation capabilities and pore diameter is established in materials with complex pore distributions. A method of generating mobile extra-framework cations which drastically increase adsorptive selectivity toward nitrogen over oxygen via electrostatic interactions is explored through experiments and simulations. Finally, deposition of redox-active ferrocene molecules into systematically generated defects is shown to be an effective method of increasing selectivity towards oxygen.

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2019

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Numerical Modeling and Experimental Studies on the Hydrodynamics and Heat Transfer of Silica Glass Particles

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Granular material can be found in many industries and undergo process steps like drying, transportation, coating, chemical, and physical conversions. Understanding and optimizing such processes can save energy as well as material costs, leading to improved products. Silica beads are

Granular material can be found in many industries and undergo process steps like drying, transportation, coating, chemical, and physical conversions. Understanding and optimizing such processes can save energy as well as material costs, leading to improved products. Silica beads are one such granular material encountered in many industries as a catalyst support material. The present research aims to obtain a fundamental understanding of the hydrodynamics and heat transfer mechanisms in silica beads. Studies are carried out using a hopper discharge bin and a rotary drum, which are some of the most common process equipment found in various industries. Two types of micro-glass beads with distinct size distributions are used to fill the hopper in two possible packing arrangements with varying mass ratios. For the well-mixed configuration, the fine particles clustered at the hopper bottom towards the end of the discharge. For the layered configuration, the coarse particles packed at the hopper bottom discharge first, opening a channel for the fine particles on the top. Also, parameters such as wall roughness (WR) and particle roughness (PR) are studied by etching the particles. The discharge rate is found to increase with WR, and found to be proportional to (Root mean square of PR)^(-0.58). Furthermore, the drum is used to study the conduction and convection heat transfer behavior of the particle bed with varying process conditions. A new non-invasive temperature measurement technique is developed using infrared thermography, which replaced the traditional thermocouples, to record the temperatures of the particles and the drum wall. This setup is used to understand the flow regimes of the particle bed inside the drum and the heat transfer mechanisms with varying process conditions. The conduction heat transfer rate is found to increase with decreasing particle size, decreasing fill level, and increasing rotation speed. The convection heat transfer rate increased with increasing fill level and decreasing particle size, and rotation speed had no significant effect. Due to the complexities in these systems, it is not always possible to conduct experiments, therefore, heat transfer models in Discrete Element Method codes (MFIX-DEM: open-source code, and EDEM: commercial code) are adopted, validated, and the effects of model parameters are studied using these codes.

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2020

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Radiation-induced nanoparticle formation as novel means of in vivo/in vitro dosimetry

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Rapid development of new technology has significantly disrupted the way radiotherapy is planned and delivered. These processes involve delivering high radiation doses to the target tumor while minimizing dose to the surrounding healthy tissue. However, with rapid implementation of these

Rapid development of new technology has significantly disrupted the way radiotherapy is planned and delivered. These processes involve delivering high radiation doses to the target tumor while minimizing dose to the surrounding healthy tissue. However, with rapid implementation of these new technologies, there is a need for the detection of prescribed ionizing radiation for radioprotection of the patient and quality assurance of the technique employed. Most available clinical sensors are subjected to various limitations including requirement of extensive training, loss of readout with sequential measurements, sensitivity to light and post-irradiation wait time prior to analysis. Considering these disadvantages, there is still a need for a sensor that can be fabricated with ease and still operate effectively in predicting the delivered radiation dose.

The dissertation discusses the development of a sensor that changes color upon exposure to therapeutic levels of ionizing radiation used during routine radiotherapy. The underlying principle behind the sensor is based on the formation of gold nanoparticles from its colorless precursor salt solution upon exposure to ionizing radiation. Exposure to ionizing radiation generates free radicals which reduce ionic gold to its zerovalent gold form which further nucleate and mature into nanoparticles. The generation of these nanoparticles render a change in color from colorless to a maroon/pink depending on the intensity of incident ionizing radiation. The shade and the intensity of the color developed is used to quantitatively and qualitatively predict the prescribed radiation dose.

The dissertation further describes the applicability of sensor to detect a wide range of ionizing radiation including high energy photons, protons, electrons and emissions from radioactive isotopes while remaining insensitive to non-ionizing radiation. The sensor was further augmented with a capability to differentiate regions that are irradiated and non-irradiated in two dimensions. The dissertation further describes the ability of the sensor to predict dose deposition in all three dimensions. The efficacy of the sensor to predict the prescribed dose delivered to canine patients undergoing radiotherapy was also demonstrated. All these taken together demonstrate the potential of this technology to be translatable to the clinic to ensure patient safety during routine radiotherapy.

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2019