479778 Membrane Contactors for Reactive Absorption Process

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Continental 4 & 5 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Michael D. Wales, Chemical Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS

Research Interests:  

I have wide skill set, ranging from membrane science, to reaction engineering, to analytical chemistry. My bachelor’s degree is in chemistry, and I work as an antibody chemist and analytical chemist for a number of years prior to graduate school. This experience helped propel my research forward when I decided to go back to school for a doctorate in chemical engineering. My main PhD research focused on developing membrane contract reactors for 3-phase reactions; however, I was also part of an interdisciplinary NSF-IGERT Traineeship, exposing me to a number of collaborations.

Membrane contact reactors: Design and fabricate membranes and membrane reactors. Characterize liquid and gas transport properties of membranes. Characterize structural properties of polymeric and ceramic membranes. Surface modifications of membranes. Reaction engineering: rate laws, reaction order, kinetics, selectivity, and catalyst characterizations.

Liquid-liquid equilibria (LLE): Interdisciplinary project in which phase diagrams of four ternary systems of water-alcohol(s)-methoxycyclopentane (CPME) were determined. Binodal curves were experimentally determined using tie-line measurements and the data was correlated using the universal quasichemical (UNIQUAC) activity coefficient model.

Single cell oil from oleaginous yeast: Interdisciplinary project in which oleaginous yeast was investigated as a renewable alternative to crop-based oil. This project involved investigating scale-up of the fermentation, including cell lysis, separation, purification and economic analysis of the endeavor. Mentoring an undergraduate group involved in the process. And using the above mentioned LLE data to developed a green solvent alternative to the Bligh and Dyer lipid extraction.

Teaching Interests:

I have experience teaching undergraduate classes ranging from freshman to senior levels. In addition to teaching chemical engineering classes, I have also taught Material Science, which includes students from a variety of majors. I am comfortable teaching in both large lecture halls (Material Science), and smaller senior level chemical engineering classes (Chemical Reaction Engineering). My experiences mentoring undergraduates in the labs and coaching the undergraduate rugby team has allowed me to relate very easily to undergraduates and foster fun and welcoming atmospheres in the classroom, laboratories, and office.

Courses taught:

  • Current Topics in Chemical Engineering (CHE110) 
  • Basic Concepts in Materials Science and Engineering (CHE354) 
  • Fundamentals of Mechanical Properties (CHE355)
    • Fundamentals of Electrical Properties (CHE356)
    • Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 1 (CHE520)
    • Chemical Reaction Engineering (CHE550)

Professional Preparation:

Ph.D. 2016 Chemical Engineering Kansas State University

B.A. 2011 Chemistry University of California, Santa Cruz

Graduate Certificate- Biobased Products and- Kansas State University

2016 Bioenergy Experience:

2016-Curent Kansas State University, Department of Chemical Engineering

- Postdoctoral Researcher

- Instructor (two classes per semester)

2011-2015: Kansas State University, Department of Chemical Engineering

- NSF IGERT Trainee in Biorefining

- Graduate Research Assistant (PhD Student)

2008-2010 Tainted Love (80’s cover band)

- Sound Technician (Roadie)

I was a roadie for a traveling band while I was taking community college classes. I was taking community college classes b/c I was switching from chemistry to engineering.

2004 – 2008: Curtis and Tompkins, LTD. Analytical Laboratories

- GC-MS Chemist

- Total Extractable Hydrocarbon Chemist

- Mercury/Inorganic Chemist

2004 – 2004: Protein Design Labs, Inc

- Antibody Chemist (Internship) PhD Dissertation:

Title: “Membrane Contact Reactors for Three-Phase Catalytic Reactions”

Advisors: Mary E. Rezac, Peter H. Pfromm

Department of Chemical Engineering, Kansas State University

Future Direction:

As faculty I would like to continue applying Membrane Contactors for gas-liquid reactions in reactive absorption processes, as well as conducting membrane research in interdisciplinary endeavors. Inorganic nanoparticle (NPs) synthesis is one such process that offers considerable opportunities for future research. These reactions involve a gas being brought into contact with a liquid that contains a dissolved metal salt. The gas must be absorbed into the liquid in order for the gas-metal reaction to take place. In traditional systems, such as stirred tanks or bubble columns, when the gas phase is dispersed into the liquid phase the gas-liquid interfacial area is small and varies with operating conditions, leading to difficulty in control of NP formation and scale-up. However, it is possible to substantially increase the gas-liquid interfacial area and control the gas-liquid mass transfer rate using membrane contactors. By employing a micro porous membrane between the gas and liquid phase, the gas is introduced to the liquid phase through the pores of the membrane. The membrane pores provide a large and stable interfacial surface area, favoring increased absorption rates and faster reaction times. One of the few studies using membrane contactors for NP production was by Jia et al. (J. Membr. Sci., 342 (2009) 1-5). Jia et al. produced CaCO3 NPs by reacting aqueous Ca(OH)2 with CO2 gas using a membrane contactor described above; additionally, they used a surface renewal model to calculate CO2absorption per membrane surface area, with the model and empirical data matching well. Proposed future work in this field includes: (1) more examples of noble metal chemistry, (2) systematically varying operating conditions to control size distributions, and (3) experimenting with different NP shapes.

In addition to nanoparticle production and membrane reactors, my interest includes separations and chromatography. With my extensive analytical chemistry background, I am naturally curious about solvent/polymer interactions, as well as physical/chemical interactions in relation to chromatography and separations. Membrane research is sufficiently flexible to adapt to the changes in the funding winds, and I foresee myself using membranes on collaboration research, both intra and interdisciplinary. Selected Awards

- NSF IGERT Trainee 2012-2015

- Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority Fellowships, July 2014

- Accepted to present, and awarded a travel grant to: New York Academy of Science and PepsiCo, Journey through Science Day, December 2014

- Elias Klein Founders' Travel Awards, North American Membrane Society, June 2013, Selected Publications

Wales, M.D.; Huang, C.; Joos, L.B.; Probst, K.V.; Vadlani, P.V.; Anthony, J.; Rezac, M.E.; “Liquid-Liquid Equilibria for Ternary Systems of Water + Methoxycyclopentane (CPME) + Alcohol; Methanol, Ethanol, 1-Propanol, or 2-Propanol”; Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data, 2016, 61 (4), pp 1479–1484, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jced.5b00803

Wales, M.D.; Joos, L.B.; Traylor, W.A.; Pfromm P.H.; Rezac, M.E.; “Composite Catalytic Tubular Membranes for Selective Hydrogenation in Three-Phase Systems,” Catalysis Today, 2016, 268, pp 12-18, DOI :10.1016/j.cattod.2015.12.011

Zheng, Q.; Wales, M.D.; Heidlage, M.G.; Rezac, M.E.; Wang H., Bossmann, S.H.; and Hohn K.L.; “Conversion of 2,3-Butanediol to Butenes over Bifunctional Catalysts in a Single Reactor,” Journal of Catalysis, 2015, 330, pp 222-237, DOI: 10.1016/j.jcat.2015.07.004

Wales, M.D.; Joos, L.B.; Traylor, W.A.; Pfromm P.H.; Rezac, M.E; “Platinum and Palladium Composite Catalytic Membrane for Three-Phase Hydrogenation”, Chemical Engineering Journal, (In Prep)

Probst, K.V.; Wales, M.D.; Rezac, M.E.; Vadlani, P.V.; “Evaluation of Green Solvents: “Oil Extraction from Oleaginous Yeast Lipomyces Starkeyi using Cyclopently Methyl Ether (CPME)”, Biotechnology Progress, (In Prep)

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