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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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Zwitterionic poly (arylene ether sulfone) copolymers: membrane applications and fundamentals

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Zwitterionic polymers, due to their supurior capability of electrostatically induced hydration, have been considered as effective functionalities to alleviate bio-fouling of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. Bulk modification of polysulfone-based matrices to improve hydrophilicity, on the other hand, is favored due

Zwitterionic polymers, due to their supurior capability of electrostatically induced hydration, have been considered as effective functionalities to alleviate bio-fouling of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. Bulk modification of polysulfone-based matrices to improve hydrophilicity, on the other hand, is favored due to the high membrane performance, processibility, and intrinsic chlorine resistance. Here a novel synthetic method was demonstrated to prepare zwitterionic poly(arylene ether sulfone) (PAES) copolymers, which was blended with native polysulfone (PSf) to fabricate free-standing asymmetric membranes via non-solvent induced phase separation process. Both the porosity of the support layer and surface hydrophilicity increased drastically due to the incorporation of zwitterion functionalities in the rigid polysulfone matrix. The water permeance and antifouling ability of the blend membranes were both remarkably improved to 2.5 Lm−2 h−1 bar−1 and 94% of flux recovery ratio, respectively, while salt rejection remained at a high level (98%) even under the high exposure to chlorine (8,000 ppm•h). Besides the preliminary blended membrane design, for the future membrane property enhancement, this dissertation also focused on polymer structure optimizations via elucidating the fundamentals from two perspectives: 1). Synthetic reaction kinetics and mechanisms on polycondensation of PAES. Interestingly, in combination of experiments and the computational calculations by density functional theory (DFT) methods in this work, only the aryl chlorides (ArCl) monomer follows the classical second-order reaction kinetics of aromatic nucleophilic substitution (SNAr) mechanism, while the kinetics of the aryl fluorides (ArF) reaction fit a third-order rate law. The third order reaction behavior of the ArF monomer is attributed to the activation of the carbon-fluorine bond by two potassium cations (at least one bounded to phenolate), which associate as a strong three-body complex. This complex acts as the predominant reactant during the attack by the nucleophile. 2). Optimized copolymer structures were developed for controlled high molecular weight (Mw ~ 65 kDa) and zwitterionic charge content (0~100 mol%), via off-set stoichiometry during polycondensations, following with thiol-ene click reaction and ring-opening of sultone to introduce the sulfobetaine functional groups. The structure-property-morphology relationships were elucidated for better understanding atomic-level features in the charged polymers for future high-performance desalination applications.

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2019