MSE Seminar - Dr. Ruilan Guo, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Notre Dame Univ.

MSE Seminar
Event Date:
Monday, February 15, 2016 - 4:00pm
GTMI Auditorium

Creating Materials Solutions for Energy-efficient Membrane Gas Separations


New generation of robust polymeric membranes are needed by the chemical industry to perform fast and selective gas separations in a wide range of environments with improved energy efficiency and cost effectiveness. As the key to a successful membrane gas separation system, membrane materials featuring ultra-fast and highly selective transport properties combined with good chemical, mechanical, and thermal stability in the process environment and good processability are highly desired. This talk will discuss our recent efforts of developing a new family of iptycene-containing polymers as gas separation membranes, based on a novel concept of internal free volume and supramolecular chain threading/interlocking mechanism that are intrinsically associated with iptycene moieties. Iptycenes, such as triptycene and pentiptycene, are fused aromatic structures with rigid, shape-persistent configurations. The rich structural hierarchy and functionalization versatility of iptycenes offer unique opportunities for generating well-defined and tailorable molecular cavities as well as favorable supramolecular interchain interactions that enable fast and selective molecular transport to meet various separation needs. Two representative series of iptycene-containing polymer membranes, each exploiting a unique structural/functional motif to achieve favorable transport properties, will be discussed. Specifically, size-selective iptycene-based polyimide membranes and reverse-selective membranes based on iptycene-PEO segmented copolymers will be presented, with a focus on how to exquisitely tune the molecular structure/architecture and the supramolecular interactions of iptycene units to promote size-sieving ability and selective molecular transport in these new polymeric membranes.


Dr. Ruilan Guo is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of Notre Dame. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Beijing University of Chemical Technology, and completed her Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology in Polymer and Textile Engineering. Before joining Notre Dame in 2012, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech working with the late Professor James E. McGrath, NAE. Her research focuses on developing hierarchically functional polymeric materials with applications impacting both energy and the environment sustainability, including gas separation membranes, polyelectrolyte membranes for fuel cells, and membranes for desalination and water treatment. Dr. Guo has received several prestigious awards including the Department of Energy (DOE) Early Career Research Award and the ACS Petroleum Research Fund for Doctoral New Investigators.

Reception at 3:30 p.m. in the GTMI Atrium