Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Major

Chemical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Dr. George Chase

First Reader

Lingyun Liu

Second Reader

Bin-min Zhang Newby

Abstract

Superhydrophobic polystyrene nanofiber membranes have potential to separate micron scale water droplets from organic due to their hydrophobicity and small pore openings. Polystyrene nanofibers were electrospun into flat sheets and cylindrical filter membranes. The fibers were crosslinked to increase strength and reduce solubility in diesel fuel. The filters were tested and the filtration efficiency was compared to their non-crosslinked counterparts. The optimal electrospinning conditions to create superhydrophobic nanofibers were found to be 20 wt. % PS fibers at 1 mL/hr. under a current of 20kV and at a distance of 20 cm away from the ground. It was found that crosslinking the fibers had a positive effect on the filtration performance with the average efficiency being 91% compared to 80% for the non-crosslinked fiber mats.

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