Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences (BCAS)

Date of Last Revision

2021-09-10 13:34:11


Chemical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Honors Course

4200 497-001

Number of Credits


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2020


It can be difficult to separate water and oil emulsions through traditional filtration. Therefore, investigations of filtering using thermo-responsive (TR) polymers, in this case poly(vinyl methyl ether) (PVME), was conducted. It’s hypothesized that below its lower critical solution temperature (LCST), PVME has an affinity for water while oil substances do not. Above the LCST the opposite will be true. To verify this hypothesis, iterations of filtration designs were created to provide optimum control over the parameters to measure flow. The final optimized experimental apparatus was a Chromaflex glass column which was air tight and controlled all parameters besides fluid flow. Using membranes and sponges, primarily thin sponge and grade 1 Whatman filter paper with various modifications, it was shown that porosity has a directly proportional effect on the volumetric flow rate. It was further shown that, after PVME modification with 3-aminopropyltriethoxy silane (APTES) as the bonding agent, room temperature water flow rate remained constant or increased while diesel flow rate decreased by at least a third. These changes in flow show that PVME has an affinity for water and not oil at room temperature. More experimentation would need to be conducted to prove the TR behavior above the LCST.

Research Sponsor

Dr. Bi-min Zhang Newby

First Reader

Dr. Edward Evans

Second Reader

Sirilak Phomrak

Honors Faculty Advisor

Dr. Bi-min Zhang Newby

Alec Jerger Signature Page Honors Project.pdf (114 kB)
Approvals Signature Page



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.