Energy devices and Plasma applications Laboratory (EdPL)
Lyles College of Engineering
Fabrication of a graphene based water purification system
About a decade ago, researchers started investigating the use of nanotechnology towards water processing and purification. The general size of the nanotechnology based water filtration products are smaller than traditional devices which leads to concerns regarding use and maintenance. Recently, graphene based devices have also been investigated in a variety of areas of water purification. The following work deals with the development of a low cost graphene based water purification systems towards removal of organic water and salt based contaminants
Characterization of viscoelastic electro-active composites towards enhancing acoustic absorption and impact attenuation in mechanical and civil structures
Viscoelastic polymer composites are highly touted specimens due to their ability to convert mechanical energy directly into electrical energy. Due to this characteristic, the latter have become increasingly useful in applications including impact absorption, acoustic absorption, and energy conversion. Through the use of an impedance tube , which is used to measure the acoustic impedance and sound transmission loss of a material, scientists are able to quantify and list materials whose characteristics are highly applicable. Another possible application if these highly regarded materials is the possibility for reduction of noise pollution. This will be due to the acoustic energy being converted into vibrational energy, and finally being harvested in the form of electrical energy. Applications such as these would be highly sought after in locations with dense population such as cities and large towns.
Absorption and shielding of high energy particles using electro-active materials
This work seeks to investigate the radiation absorption and shielding properties of nanomaterial based electro-active composite materials. These materials are characterized by using a scanning electron microscope where an electron gun directs high energy electrons (upto 30 keV) towards the sample. The SEM is used in order to image the secondary electron emission and the back scatter emission. These emissions are directly related to how the material shields and absorbs high energy particles. Understanding how a material interacts with high energy particles is vital for their use in areas with high radiation and where high energy particles are desired to be shielded or absorbed. Absorbing and reflecting radiation is applicable for many aeronautical applications.
Fabrication and characterization of flexible multiphasic electro-active thin films towards development of energy harvesting devices
Electro-active materials and composites are used in a wide range of applications involving sensing and actuation. For applicability of these materials as energy harvesting devices, the composites need to maintain sensitivity and reliability over a wide range of frequencies. Towards development of flexible devices, electro-active composites can be fabricated by embedding a perovskite material in a three dimensional polymer matrix. The electron transport properties can be enhanced by addition of a conductive phase in the polymer matrix. The electrical properties of the composite can be tailored by modification of the conductive inclusion properties and by means of surface modification of the thin films. Hence an experimental investigation of these composite materials aims to understand the relationship between the mechanisms that influence the electron transport properties and the energy harvesting characteristics of these materials.
Plasma micro-discharge based processing and surface modification of organic matrix based flexible electro-active composites
Atmospheric pressure and ambient temperature micro-plasmas have been used for polarization of piezo-composites towards alignment of the electric dipoles. Dielectric polarization is caused when a dipole moment is formed in an insulating material because of an external electric field. When a dielectric interacts with electric field a shift in charge distribution takes place, aligning the positive and negative ions with the electric field. By this mechanism important circuit elements such as capacitors can be developed. The same phenomenon of plasma micro-discharge can also be used for surface modification of piezoelectric-composites towards activation and enhancement of electrical properties of the material surface. This can be achieved by chain polymerization of the surface in organic composite thin films that changes the surface bonding characteristics Micro-plasma based discharges can optmize and modify the surface energy of polymer based electro-active thin films towards enhancement in electrode bonding through effect chain-polymerization and cross-linking. The current research investigates the effect of corona and dielectric barrier based micro-discharge and atmospheric pressure plasmas in surface modification of polymer based flexible electro-active composites.
Plasma micro-discharge based water purification and non-toxic removal of organic contaminant in waste water
Water scarcity has become a growing problem in the modern era. In the 1900s, 0.24 billion people went without clean water. However, this number has increased to 3.8 billion without access to clean water in the 2000s. This increase is caused by an increase in the global population, which has increased the need for water in agriculture as well, and draughts in various regions throughout the world. Modern solutions to this scarcity including, chlorination, desalination, and filtration have been studied and used extensively but more is needed to solve this problem. The current research focuses on developing a corona discharge based water purification system towards non-toxic removal of organic constituents in waste water.