REU Site: Soft Materials at Penn State University (Pennsylvania State Univ University Park)
Materials World Network: The Subtle Balance Between Rigidity and Swelling in Functional Nanoporous Polymers (Pennsylvania State Univ University Park)
Understanding a material's properties can often lead to improved performance. Undergraduates at Pennsylvania State University have developed new molecular simulation methods to study complex, large and bulky amorphous polymers used to separate and absorb gases.
In many industrial processes, gas separation or capture often requires a large amount of energy. These new, polymeric materials have the potential to reduce significantly the costs associated with gas purification and/or capture.
The Soft Materials Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, focuses on the study of polymeric materials. In one research program at the site led by Coray Colina, undergraduate students used molecular simulation methods to learn more about amorphous polymers. These organic, microporous materials separate different gases from each other and have a range of environmentally friendly applications such as purification of natural gas and capture of carbon dioxide.
Researchers characterize the structure and porosity of the simulated structures to help interpret experimental data and further the understanding of structure-property relationships. This information is then used to improve the separation properties of the materials.
More efficient method to produce hydrogen also eliminates air pollutantsResearch Areas: Earth & Environment, Chemistry & Materials Locations: Pennsylvania
Models simulate effects of earthquakes on urban environmentsResearch Areas: Computing, Earth & Environment Locations: Pennsylvania