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PhD Student, School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Tech
B.S. Chemistry, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Dr. Jones and Dr. Nair
Characterization of Nanowhisker Functionalization on Zeolites and Their Effect on the Morphology of Zeolite/Polymer Nanocomposite Membranes
Natural gas is an important, clean source of energy. However, many natural gas sources are contaminated with carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. These acid gases can lead to corrosion of the natural gas pipeline and thus require treatment before use. Membranes are an important technology for these separations because they are generally more energy efficient and more economical on smaller scales than alternative gas purification. One suggestion for improving selectivity and permeability is to fabricate mixed matrix membranes (MMMs). MMMs are composite membranes containing a polymer bulk phase and a dispersed inorganic selective phase. They incorporate the selectivity of inorganic membranes while maintaining the processability and affordability of polymer membranes.
Previous work on MMMs has shown that there is a phenomenon called the “sieve-in-a-cage” morphology that occurs during solvent evaporation where the polymer does not adhere to the zeolite and a gap forms between the two phases. This void is problematic because the gas to be separated takes the path of least resistance and circumvents the selective molecular sieve. This work will focus on functionalization of the zeolites by growth of Mg(OH)2 nanowhiskers on the surface of zeolites through Grignard decomposition reactions, solvothermal deposition, and ion exchange induced crystallization methods.
Previous work in this field has been primarily devoted to developing functionalization methods and testing them in MMMs for the effect on gas permeation properties. The aim of my project is to understand the structure-property relationships of each functionalization method. Specific topics of investigation include: the crystal structures are formed, the properties at the zeolite-nanostructure interface, and the correlation to MMM selectivity. These aspects are important in developing an understanding of how different chemical and substrate environments can affect the formation of nanostructures while ideally developing guidelines to be able to optimize and tune the nanostructure deposition for the desired application. Ultimately, polymer/nanostructure/zeolite interactions will be studied in dense films to establish a correlation between the resulting MMM morphology and performance.
1. Lydon , ME; Unocic , KA; Bae , T-H; Jones, CW; and Nair, S. Structure-property relationships of inorganically surface-modified zeolite molecular sieves for nanocomposite membrane fabrication. J. Phys. Chem. C. 2012 , 116 (17) 9636-9645.
2. Brown, AJ; Johnson, JR; Lydon , ME ; Koros , WJ; Jones, CW; and Nair, S. Continuous polycrystalline zeolitic imidazolate framework-90 membranes on polymeric hollow fibers. Angew . Chem. Int. Edit. 2012 , 51 (42) 10615-10618.
3. Lively, RP; Dose, ME; Xu , L; Vaughn, JT; Johnson, JR; Thompson, JA; Zhang, K; Lydon , ME; Lee, J-S; Liu, L; Hu, Z; Karvan , O; Realff , MJ; and Koros , WJ. A high-flux polyimide hollow fiber membrane to minimize footprint and energy penalty in CO 2 recovery from flue gas. J. Membr . Sci. 2012 , 423-424 302-313.
4. Thompson, J; Blad , CR; Brunelli , NA; Lydon , ME ; Lively, RP, Jones, CW; and Nair, S. Hybrid zeolitic imidazolate frameworks: Controlling framework porosity and functionality by mixed-linker synthesis. Chem. Mater. 2012 , 24 (10) 1930-1936.
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