425216 Design and Synthesis of Functional Polymers for Industrial, Environmental and Energy Applications

Sunday, November 8, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Hasan Zerze, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Lehigh University, Bethelehem, PA

Chemical engineering research primarily aims to find solutions to the problems impacting the globe as well as to invent new technologies that improve the quality of life and meet the societal needs. To achieve these targets, the role of an interdisciplinary approach that gathers the advancements in different scientific fields, is significant. My PhD study involved polymer synthesis and application of the materials in an ultrafiltration process to successfully remove boron species from aqueous solutions for the purpose of the reclamation of geothermal waters. In my postdoctoral study, I found the opportunity to design synthetic routes and produce tailor-made polymers in various structural forms to reversibly capture carbon dioxide from ambient air. The main purpose is to develop economically and environmentally feasible technologies to prevent the constant increase of its concentration in the atmosphere.

In addition, we have written a research proposal for the recovery of lithium salts from brine by the implementation of the novel chemistries to produce lithium-chelating resins. Since the conventionally used technologies are expensive and energy-intensive, this work is meant to bring about potential economic impacts of great significance. Moreover, I am also planning to produce block copolymers with well-defined architectures using Polymerization Induced Self-Assembly (PISA) technique. Then, based on a metal-polymer binding chemistry, these nano structures can be used as templates to grow metal and metal oxide nano shapes with inherent stability against aggregation due to their polymeric shields. There is a tremendous number of application areas of great potential especially in energy harvesting and storage materials as well as drug delivery applications.

To conclude, based on my expertise in the synthesis, characterization and application of specially tailored functional polymers, I am planning to implement the recent advancements in the polymer chemistry to provide solutions to environmental, industrial and energy-related problems.

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