Nanoscale understanding of polymers for sustainable energy applications

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Faculty Advisor
Shudipto Konika Dishari
Contact Email
Potential UCARE Research Position?
Start Date
3/1/2017 but flexible
Paid or Volunteer
Hours Per Week
20 max, can vary depending on your availability
Acceptable Undergraduate Majors
Chemical engineering, materials engineering, chemistry are encouraged

Ion containing polymers or ionomers are widely used in many renewable energy based applications which can help us to achieve clean energy economy. Ionomers in several tens of nanometer (nm) thick films behave very differently as compared to several tens of micron thick bulk membranes. The polymer chains and water molecules when confined in sub-micron systems, the ion conduction properties drastically decrease influencing the efficiency of many energy applications, such as fuel cells, water electrolysis, supercapacitors and many more. Although the bulk membrane properties are widely studied, nanoscale thick polymer films are still poorly understood. The student/s working on this project will be actively involved in making ionomer thin films using a number of film deposition techniques and measuring the response of the films to gradual change of relative humidity.

The students will measure the water uptake of the films and measure the extent of proton conduction and mechanical rigidity using fluorescence and other complementary material characterization technique. Student/s will perform relevant literature review, hands-on experiments and data analysis under the guidance of the PI and a graduate student mentor assigned. The project length will be decided based on student's capabilities, commitment and gradual progress. Sincere and hardworking students from chemical engineering/materials engineering/chemistry with a great passion for research are welcome to apply. Students having prior expertise in using confocal microscopy or chemistry background are highly encouraged to apply.

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