Toward Scalable Nanomanufacturing Using Capillarity
Series: CBE Departmental Seminars
Location: Elgin Room (E-Quad A224)
Date/Time: Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Despite the remarkable advances in the laboratory-scale discoveries of nanocomposites with unique structures and emergent properties, their translation to an industrially relevant scale has been limited due to challenges associated with large-scale manufacturing of such materials. In this talk, I will describe new approaches for scalable manufacturing of nanostructured composites by exploiting capillary interactions between nanoparticles and fluids. In the first part of this talk, I will describe our work on generating nanocomposite films (NCFs) with extremely high loadings of nanoparticles using capillary rise infiltration (CaRI). Owing to the high loadings of nanoparticles, these NCFs have extraordinarily high strength and toughness, making them ideal for applications in flexible electronic displays and protective coatings. In CaRI, NCFs are formed by thermally annealing a bilayer of polymer and nanoparticle, which induces imbibition of polymer into the nanoparticle layer. CaRI represents an intriguing transport phenomenon in which the size of the fluid molecule (i.e., polymer) is comparable to the pore size in the nanoparticle layer. I will share our current understanding of the transport processes involved in CaRI. By adjusting the amount of polymers undergoing CaRI, we can also generate porous nanocomposites with uniform or graded compositions, which may have potential applications in the areas of membrane separations and energy storage and conversion as well as optical coatings. In the second part of this presentation, I will describe our recent efforts in creating bicontinuous interfacially jammed emulsions (BIJELs), which are a new class of soft materials with potential applications in reactive separation, membrane separation and catalysis. We have developed a new method to enable continuous generation of bijel microparticles, fibers and membranes using solvent-transfer-induced phase separation (STRIPS). Transport of molecules with opposite polarity as well as membrane separation of nanoparticles using STRIPS bijels will be demonstrated. Also, a new in situ technique to characterize the mechanical properties of these STRIPS bijel fiber as well as the application of bijel-derived hollow tube membranes in ultrafiltration using will be discussed.