Materials Science Research Lecture
Abstract: Industrial separation and purification processes represent 10-15% of global energy consumption. Most industrial separations are carried out using thermal distillation systems, which require large amounts of heat to evaporate the liquid mixture and thus operate with a poor efficiency. By replacing thermal distillation with membrane processes, the energy required for chemical separations can be reduced by over 80%. Existing membranes, however, do not demonstrate the selectivity and chemical resistance needed for industrial applications. Current state-of-the-art polymer nanofiltration membranes lack thermal and chemical stability, as well as anti-fouling capabilities needed in many applications, while commercial ceramic nanofiltration membranes are prohibitively costly and not well suited to reject contaminants with sizes below 20 nm. In this talk, I will describe our work on designing new materials for nanoporous membranes to perform chemical separations. These membranes are capable of tunable molecular sieving and are highly resistant to thermal and chemical degradation. Two different materials from our recent work will be highlighted: graphene-oxide and nanoporous silicon.
More About the Speaker: Jeffrey C. Grossman is the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems and a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Illinois, performed postdoctoral work at U.C. Berkeley, and was a Lawrence Fellow at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He returned to Berkeley as Director of a Nanoscience Center and Head of the Computational Nanoscience research group with focus on energy applications, prior to joining MIT in fall, 2009. Dr. Grossman's group uses a combination of modeling and experiment to gain fundamental understanding, develop new insights based on this understanding, then use these insights to create new materials with improved properties for energy conversion, energy storage, and clean water technologies. Prof. Grossman has been named a MacVicar Fellow of MIT, recognizing his contributions to engineering education, and he has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He has published more than 200 scientific papers, holds 17 current or pending U.S. patents, and has recently started a company to commercialize his work on graphene-oxide membranes. He has appeared on a number of television/radio shows to discuss new materials for energy and water including the Fred Friendly PBS series, the Ecopolis program on the Discovery Channel, and NPR's OnPoint Radio.