The Polymer Physics of Separation Membranes (A DPOLY Short Course at the 2023 American Physical Society March Meeting)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Chemical separations are required in many industrial processes for producing chemicals, fuels, and pharmaceuticals, purifying water, and more. Driven by advances in polymer science, membrane-based separations have demonstrated exemplary performance and energy efficiency in applications such as seawater desalination and the enrichment of nitrogen from air. Continued innovation in polymer membrane technology is needed to expand the role of membrane-based separations as an energy-efficient alternative to conventional approaches. A short course, “The Polymer Physics of Separation Membranes,” held at the 2023 American Physical Society (APS) March Meeting, will prepare a cohort of early-stage researchers to design next-generation polymer membranes. The short course will teach foundational aspects of membrane design for gas and water separations, including established and emerging uses, polymer physics in multiscale design and characterization, and formulation and non-equilibrium processing methods used to manufacture polymer membranes at scale. Convergence research will be fostered by bringing together researchers from the fundamental polymer physics and membrane design and processing disciplines. In support of this educational opportunity, this award will provide 20 graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career professionals with funds to offset their travel and registration expenses. The course organizers have committed to focus recruiting efforts on promoting diversity and graduate student participation. "The Polymer Physics of Separation Membranes" short course will be held on March 4th and 5th, 2023, at the 2023 APS March Meeting in Las Vegas, NV. The course will be delivered through the APS Division of Polymer Physics (DPOLY). The goal is to bring together researchers across various disciplines, including polymer physics, polymer chemistry, materials science, and membrane technology, to facilitate discussions that address the design, characterization, and processing of polymer separation membranes. Over one and a half days, field-leading experts will guide participants in tutorial sessions and hands-on learning activities emphasizing the importance of bridging the multiple time and length scales associated with the polymer physics of separation membranes. The topics covered in the course include an overview of polymer membranes for water purification and gas separations, membrane fabrication at the industrial scale and non-equilibrium formation mechanisms, polymer materials and their structural characterization, solute partitioning in polymers via interfacial characterization and computation, solute dynamics in gas and liquid separation polymers, and field-driven transport through separation membranes. This short course is the first of its kind offered through DPOLY. It is unique in its focus on merging concepts from fundamental polymer physics with applied membrane design and processing approaches. The award of travel and registration fee subsidies is expected to attract diverse researchers to attend a short course they may not otherwise be able to attend.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.
Effective start/end date3/1/238/31/23


  • National Science Foundation: $8,000.00


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