Analysis of Liquid Chemisorbent for CO2 removal and Solvent Vapor Processing of Ternary Polymer Blends
Master of Science
A robust, reliable, and low-power system is needed for carbon dioxide (CO2) remediation in deep-space exploration systems. The current CO2 removal system on the International Space Station relies on zeolites, but an alternative CO2 scrubbing technology based on liquid amines has recently been proposed and demonstrated. In this project, we critically evaluate the use of liquid amines to uptake CO2 and provide recommendations for implementation and optimization. We model CO2 uptake using COMSOL and generate concentration profiles for liquid amine and CO2 in gas and liquid phases. We show that liquid amines have significant capacity for CO2 uptake, and the rate of uptake is limited by the available surface area and CO2 diffusion in the gas phase. Higher surface areas, gas mixing, and increased gas velocities can produce uptake rates needed for CO2 removal. The second project focusses on solvent vapor processing of ternary polymer blends to produce co-continuous phases. Co-continuous phases are of interest for a broad range of applications including separations, energy storage, photovoltaics, among other applications. However, most methods for producing co-continuous phases rely on kinetically-arrested phase separation. Here, we pursue the development of equilibrium co-continuous phases through ternary polymer blends consisting of two homopolymers and a compatibilizing block copolymer. We specifically focus on solvent-vapor annealing to equilibrate blends and achieve co-continuous structures in polymer films. Our work shows that solvent-vapor annealing can be used to target and tailor the domain sizes of co-continuous polymer blend films.
CO2 Chemisorption; Deep space exploration; COMSOL; Solvent Vapor processing, GISAXS, ternary polymer blends