PhD Defense by Wensi Chen

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Friday April 15, 2022
      3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
  • Location: Remote
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  • URL: BlueJeans
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Summary Sentence: Self-Driven 3D Filtration Enabled by Porous Superabsorbent Polymer Beads for Environmental Applications

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Ph.D. Thesis Defense Announcement

Self-Driven 3D Filtration Enabled by Porous Superabsorbent Polymer Beads for Environmental Applications


by

Wensi Chen
Advisor(s): Dr. Xing Xie
Committee Members: Dr. Kostas Konstantinidis (CEE), Dr. Yongsheng Chen (CEE), Dr. Sotira Yiacoumi (CEE), Dr. Ryan Lively (ChBE)

 

With rising demand for decarbonization and increased focus on sustainability, energy-efficient precise separations have become critical in industrial production and municipal needs. In particular, separating components from water with high selectivity is conducive to pollutant removal, water quality monitoring, and resource recovery. This dissertation focuses on the design and application of porous superabsorbent polymer (PSAP) beads for fast, effective, and low-cost three-dimensional (3D) water filtration. The PSAP beads with high water absorbency and controllable pore structure can achieve selective absorption of target species in water samples without any external driving forces. This innovative material would realize a simple and flexible separation technology that can be used to concentrate bioproducts or stabilize sensitive analytical targets. The rationally designed PSAP beads have been applied to harvest microalgae, which can be used to produce renewable biofuels and high-value bioproducts. The optimal pore structure of the beads can achieve fast water uptake without sacrificing microalgae harvesting efficiency. This technique potentially provides an efficient and feasible alternative for microalgae harvesting and facilitates microalgal product manufacture for environmental applications in the food-energy-water nexus. In addition, the PSAP beads have been applied to extract and preserve virus targets in water samples while excluding undesired components such as bacterial cells. The polymer scaffold is further modified to enhance immobilization and stabilization effects for the captured virus targets. Thus, the enhanced PSAP beads can eliminate the temperature regulations for virus sample storage, which could be compatible with advanced epidemiology tools to implement large-scale viral pathogen surveillance networks. Given the versatile applicability of the PSAP beads for biofluid treatment, they can also be used for biomarker encapsulation and biofluid specimen stabilization, which enables off-site diagnostic testing and disease control in medically underserved areas. The results presented in this dissertation highlight a self-driven 3D filtration platform based on the PSAP materials and broaden the prospects of its applications in various fields. 
 

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Phd Defense
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  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 31, 2022 - 2:59pm
  • Last Updated: Mar 31, 2022 - 2:59pm