Polymer and Mixed-Matrix Membranes for Gas Separations (Dr. Smith - UC-Berkeley)


“Polymer and Mixed-Matrix Membranes for Gas Separations”

Dr. Zachary P. Smith
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Berkeley

In the U.S. today, there are over 40,000 distillation columns performing more than 200 separations, which accounts for 49% of the total separation energy consumption in industry. Other energy intensive and environmentally harmful processes such as amine absorption are also used on a large scale, so a need exists to find alternative separation technologies. Of particular promise are membrane-based separations, which, unlike distillation, circumvent significant energy requirements for phase changes, and, unlike absorption, operate in continuous flow, thereby avoiding regeneration steps. Here, a broad overview on membrane-based gas separations will be presented, with an emphasis on current and emerging applications and materials. Next, three strategies will be presented on methods for designing new materials for efficient and productive separations. From a polymer perspective, two approaches will be presented, one on manipulating polymer morphology to control diffusion rates, and the other on using perfluorinated polymers to manipulate polymer-penetrant interactions. Finally, an alternative strategy will be presented, whereby highly selective inorganic particles are dispersed into a polymer matrix to improve transport performance in a platform of materials known as mixed-matrix membranes.

Speaker Background

Zachary P. Smith is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Penn State Schreyer Honors College, conducting research with Prof. Hank Foley on porous carbon-based materials for applications in oxygen enrichment. Zach completed his graduate training in Chemical Engineering under the guidance of Profs. Benny Freeman and Don Paul at the University of Texas at Austin, developing structure/property relationships for gas diffusion and sorption in polyimides, perfluoropolymers, and related materials. His postdoctoral training, under the guidance of Prof. Jeffrey Long, focuses on designing coordination solids (i.e., metal-organic frameworks) for selective adsorption-based separations. Zach has co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications and has been recognized with several awards including the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship and the ACS Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Award. He was also selected as a U.S. delegate to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting on Chemistry in 2013.


Wednesday, May 18


Michael's Restaurant at Shoreline Park
2960 N. Shoreline Park
Mountain View, CA 94043



6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration  $30 $15
Registration $35 $20
Walk-in (not guaranteed) $40 $25

Lecture-only is free.



We accept cash or checks at the door, or online payment via credit card. No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register below or contact:

Len Radzilowski
phone: 650-361-3264

Deadline for registration:

11:59PM, Friday, May 13 for early registration discount.
5PM, Tuesday, May 17 for regular registration.

Dinner Selection:

Seafood - Broiled Salmon, Lemon Buerre Blanc
Chicken - Breast of Chicken with Portobello Mushrooms
Vegetarian - Penne Pasta with grilled Zucchini and Mozzarella

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