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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
  • Michele Galizia
  • (405) 325-5807
Award Date:06/16/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 543,641
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 459,938
  • FY 2021=$459,938
Start Date:09/01/2021
End Date:08/31/2026
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:CAREER: Engineering polymers cohesive energy density and free volume for highly selective organic separations
Federal Award ID Number:2043648
DUNS ID:848348348
Parent DUNS ID:046862181
Program:Interfacial Engineering Progra
Program Officer:
  • Christina Payne
  • (703) 292-2895

Awardee Location

Street:201 Stephenson Parkway
Awardee Cong. District:04

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
Cong. District:04

Abstract at Time of Award

About 10% of global energy consumption (7.5 GJ per person every year) is devoted to chemical separations. Enhancing the energy efficiency of industrial separations is crucial to decrease costs and control environmental pollution. Solutes are typically separated from the organic solvents in which they were synthesized using energy intensive separations such as distillation and absorption. Polymer membranes can be used in substitution of or in conjunction with traditional technologies to separate species based on their permeability through the membrane material. However, new methods for controlling the selectivity and lifetime of polymer membranes are urgently needed to make membrane-based separations economically competitive. This project will develop a new approach to engineer selectivity by acting on the membrane material properties (cohesive energy density) and morphology (free volume architecture). Designing materials that exhibit high cohesive energy density is expected to enhance the capability of a membrane to separate molecules based on their different solubilities, and incorporating functional groups that provide a more uniform and permanent free volume is expected to enhance the ability to separate molecules based on their size. The combination of high cohesive energy density and proper free volume architecture will yield polymer membranes exhibiting previously unattainable selectivity for organic separations. This CAREER project will combine experimental and computational approaches to discover a new class of materials prepared by blending commercial and novel polymers. These blended polymers will be judiciously selected to exhibit high cohesive energy density and have porous networks exhibiting non-collapsible free volume architecture. The structure of these materials will be systematically tuned to maximize the selectivity for target species while guaranteeing superior long-term stability. Equally important, this CAREER project will promote discovery-based learning for high school, undergraduate, graduate students, their families, and the general public. Results from this project will be disseminated directly in the classroom, through workshops and high-school educational modules to enhance public science and engineering literacy, and via influential conference talks and publications in scientific journals. Conventional approaches to tailor selectivity in polymer membranes are often ineffective. The scientific goal of this CAREER project is to discover, synthesize, and understand next-generation polymer membranes for organic solvent reverse osmosis and nanofiltration. The leit motif of cohesive energy density and configurational free volume will be leveraged in the design of these high selectivity membranes with enhanced long-term stability. The fundamental hypothesis is that a polymer membrane's solubility-selectivity concomitantly increases with increasing cohesive energy density, and that diffusivity-selectivity systematically increases via the incorporation of iptycene moieties that confer non-collapsible configurational free volume. Using a combined experimental and theoretical approach to test these hypotheses, this project will lead to highly selective and stable polymer membranes for organic separations and will enrich the fundamental understanding of structure-property correlations for membrane-based organic separations. This interdisciplinary research program will exploit materials discovery, synthesis, characterization, and modeling as a vehicle to educate diverse student populations at various levels and enhance science and engineering literacy among the general public. Research and education will be integrated via i) an educational module for middle and high school students in the Norman, OK area, ii) an Advanced Polymers Workshop in the Southwest region of the US, iii) a new course offering for chemical engineering students at the University of Oklahoma, and iv) interdisciplinary training opportunities for a population of diverse graduate, undergraduate and middle/high school students. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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