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Development and characterization of chemical resistant water separation composite membranes by using impermeable polymer matrix

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Water recovery from impaired sources, such as reclaimed wastewater, brackish groundwater, and ocean water, is imperative as freshwater resources are under great pressure. Complete reuse of urine wastewater is also necessary to sustain life on space exploration missions of greater

Water recovery from impaired sources, such as reclaimed wastewater, brackish groundwater, and ocean water, is imperative as freshwater resources are under great pressure. Complete reuse of urine wastewater is also necessary to sustain life on space exploration missions of greater than one year’s duration. Currently, the Water Recovery System (WRS) used on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shuttles recovers only 70% of generated wastewater.1 Current osmotic processes show high capability to increase water recovery from wastewater. However, commercial reverse osmosis (RO) membranes rapidly degrade when exposed to pretreated urine-containing wastewater. Also, non-ionic small molecules substances (i.e., urea) are very poorly rejected by commercial RO membranes.

In this study, an innovative composite membrane that integrates water-selective molecular sieve particles into a liquid-barrier chemically resistant polymer film is synthetized. This plan manipulates distinctive aspects of the two materials used to create the membranes: (1) the innate permeation and selectivity of the molecular sieves, and (2) the decay-resistant, versatile, and mechanical strength of the liquid-barrier polymer support matrix.

To synthesize the membrane, Linde Type A (LTA) zeolite particles are anchored to the porous substrate, producing a single layer of zeolite particles capable of transporting water through the membrane. Thereafter, coating the chemically resistant latex polymer filled the space between zeolites. Finally, excess polymer was etched from the surface to expose the zeolites to the feed solution. The completed membranes were tested in reverse osmosis mode with deionized water, sodium chloride, and rhodamine solutions to determine the suitability for water recovery.

The main distinguishing characteristics of the new membrane design compared with current composite membrane include: (1) the use of an impermeable polymer broadens the range of chemical resistant polymers that can be used as the polymer matrix; (2) the use of zeolite particles with specific pore size insures the high rejection of the neutral molecules since water is transported through the zeolite rather than the polymer; (3) the use of latex dispersions, environmentally friendly water based-solutions, as the polymer matrix shares the qualities of low volatile organic compound, low cost, and non- toxicity.

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Date Created
2016

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

Description

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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Date Created
2019

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Treatment of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Semiconductor Wastewaters

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Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are anthropogenic chemicals used for a wide variety of products and industrial processes, including being an essential class of chemicals in the fabrication of semiconductors. Proven concerns related to bioaccumulation and toxicity across multiple species

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are anthropogenic chemicals used for a wide variety of products and industrial processes, including being an essential class of chemicals in the fabrication of semiconductors. Proven concerns related to bioaccumulation and toxicity across multiple species have resulted in health advisory and regulatory initiatives for PFAS in drinking and wastewaters. Among impacted users of PFAS, the semiconductor industry is in urgent need of technologies to remove PFAS from water. Specifically, they prefer technologies capable of mineralizing PFAS into inorganic fluoride (F-). The goal of this thesis is to compare the effectiveness of photo- versus electrocatalytic treatment in benchtop reactor systems PFAS in industrial wastewater before selecting one technology to investigate comprehensively. First, a model wastewater was developed based upon semiconductor samples to represent water matrices near where PFAS are used and the aggregate Fab effluent, which were then used in batch catalytic experiments. Second, batch experiments with homogenous photocatalysis (UV/SO32-) were found to be more energy-intensive than heterogeneous catalysis using boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrodes, and the latter approach was then studied in-depth.
During electrocatalysis, longer chain PFAS (C8; PFOA & PFOS) were observed to degrade faster than C6 and C4 PFAS. This study is the first to report near-complete defluorination of not only C8- and C6- PFAS, but also C4-PFAS, in model wastewaters using BDD electrocatalysis, and the first to report such degradation in real Fab wastewater effluents. Based upon differences in PFAS degradation rates observed in single-solute systems containing only C4 PFAS versus multi-solute systems including C4, C6, and C8 PFAS, it was concluded that the surfactant properties of the longer-chain PFAS created surface films on the BDD electrode surface which synergistically enhanced removal of shorter-chain PFAS. The results from batch experiments that serve as the basis of this thesis will be used to assess the chemical byproducts and their associated bioaccumulation and toxicity. This thesis was aimed at developing an efficient method for the degradation of perfluoroalkyl substances from industrial process waters at realistic concentrations.

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Date Created
2021