Research projects cover a broad range of research topics from renewable energy to polishing. The work of the research team has led to the Rudolf Hering Medal from the American Society of Civil Engineers for the best paper in environmental engineering as well as 10 paper and poster awards earned by undergraduate and graduate students.
Alaska heavy oil
Live oil rheology using a custom built high pressure rheometer was studied. In additiona, a variety of analytical chemistry tools analyzed the chemical components of Alaska heavy oil, and related the chemistry information with the macroscopic rheological properties for a better heavy oil recovery and production. The work focused on North Slope Alaska Ugnu heavy crude oils.
Anion exchange membranes for fuel cells and electrochemical devices
Investigation of the mechanical properties of alkaline exchange membranes under controlled temperature and humidity conditions by using several rheological tests. Also, the effects of film processing techniques on the morphology, conductivity, and ionic transport of polymer anion exchange membranes can be studied. Linking the mechanical stability with the conductivity and processing should produce an optimized membrane for a fuel cell.
Chemical mechanical polishing slurries
Chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) is a fundamental technology used in the semiconductor manufacturing industry to polish and planarize a wide range of materials for the fabrication of microelectronic devices including computer chips. Investigating the shear thickening (an increase in viscosity with increasing shear) of CMP slurries and how thickening is connected with the formation of defects such as scratches, gouges, pits, and corrosion during polishing are central themes.
Characterization of clathrate hydrate slurries using high pressure rheology
At high pressures and low temperatures, water molecules will form unique cage-like structures around small gas molecules. These solid structures, called clathrate hydrates, can restrict or prevent flow in subsea oil and gas pipelines. This project uses a specially designed high pressure cell attached to a rheometer to observe methane hydrates as these structures form, grow, aggregate, rearrange, and dissociate.