(4et) Materials-Inspired Energy-Efficient Separations Through Membranes and Sorption Processes

Zhang, K., Georgia Institute of Technology

My research interests are in the areas of energy and sustainability with a particular focus on advanced separation systems. During my PhD with Prof. Jerry Lin, I worked on the inorganic membranes (metal and zeolite membranes) for high-temperature H2 purification, whereby I obtained knowledge in the area of membrane science as well as adapting them to the design and operation of membrane reactors. 

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow working at Georgia Institute of Technology, where I am working on gas/vapor and liquid separations for biofuel recovery and hydrocarbon separations.  This position has allowed me to expand my expertise from inorganic membranes to polymer-inorganic hybrid membranes and also from membrane-based separations to both adsorption- and membrane-based separations. By identifying new materials and processes, I developed adsorbents and membranes that are designed specifically for industrially relevant applications, such as bio-ethanol purification, olefin/paraffin separation and xylene enrichment.  By combining the materials research with polymer processing technologies, hybrid materials such as mixed matrix membranes and hollow fiber sorbents have been created.

My future research will address separation issues with emphases on materials innovation and scalable processes. With my expertise in membrane and adsorption, porous materials chemistry, organic-inorganic mixed matrix products and fiber spinning, I will endeavor to develop a unique program focusing on a fundamental understanding and control of product structure on the targeted separation devices.  By coupling advanced materials with an innovative and scalable membrane or adsorption platform, the reductions in process energy requirements and carbon emissions from thermally-driven separation processes will be achieved.

Recent Publications (18 total, 10 first author, 164 total citations):

1. Zhang K, Lively RP, Zhang C, Koros WJ, Chance RR, Investigating the intrinsic ethanol/water separation capability of ZIF-8: an adsorption and diffusion study, Journal of Physical Chemistry C  2013, 117, 7214-7225

2. Zhang K, Lively RP, Dose ME, Brown AJ, Zhang C, Chung J, Nair S, Koros WJ, Chance RR, Alcohol and water adsorption in zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, Chemical Communications 2013, 49, 3245-3247

3. Zhang K, Lively RP, Dose ME, Li L, Koros WJ, Ruthven DM, McCool BA, Chance RR, Diffusion of water and ethanol in silicalite crystals synthesized in fluoride media, Microporous and Mesoporous Materials 2013, 170, 259-265

4. Zhang K, Lively RP, Noel JD, Dose ME, McCool BA, Chance RR, Koros WJ, Adsorption of water and ethanol in MFI-type zeolites, Langmuir 2012, 28, 8664-8673

5. Zhang K, Gade SK, Way JD, Effects of heat treatment in air on hydrogen sorption over Pd-Ag and Pd-Au membrane surfaces, Journal of Membrane Science 2012, 403-404, 78-83