J. Douglas Way
The central theme to all of my research projects is the application, study, and synthesis of new materials such as metals (Pd, V, Ta, Nb and their alloys), microporous oxides (crystalline and amorphous), and ionic polymers for use in novel separation processes. The separation processes currently under study in my laboratory include inorganic membranes, catalytic membrane reactors, surface modified porous oxides, and polymer membranes for PEM fuel cells, applied to energy, environmental and chemical processing applications.
There is growing industrial interest in the use of synthetic membranes for gas and liquid separations. In our current work, we are trying to understand the factors that control the transport of small molecules in dense and porous membranes. Specific examples include:
- Fabrication and characterization of Pd alloy membranes for the separation of hydrogen at temperatures of 300 to 500 °C from synthesis gas produced by gasification of coal or biomass. We are developing Pd binary and ternary alloys that resist poisoning in the presence of carbon and sulfur species in the synthesis gas.
- Design and fabrication of Pd alloys for very high temperature operation, above 500 °C. The application for these Pd membranes is a membrane reactor for the production of hydrogen from steam reforming of methane and other hydrocarbons.
- Metallic membranes for the separation of hydrogen that have no Pt group metals such as Pd, Pt, Ru, Rh, Ir, etc. These membranes are based on Group V metals such as V, Ta, or Nb and their alloys, and incorporate hydrogen dissociation catalysts based on transition metal carbides and sulfides such as Mo2C.
- Surface-modified mesoporous ceramic membranes for water treatment, membrane distillation, and gas/vapor separations. The surface chemistry of porous ceramic membranes can be modified using silane coupling chemistry and the resulting surface can be either hydrophobic or hydrophilic. Depending on the conditions, these materials can separate by molecular sieving where small molecules can be separated from mixtures of larger ones or can exhibit reverse selectivity where a larger, heavier molecule can permeate faster than a smaller penetrant. Examples include the separation of butane from methane or CO2 from nitrogen.
Coulter, K. E., Way, J. D., Gade, S. K., Chaudhari, S., Alptekin, G. O., DeVoss, S. J., Paglieri, S. N., and W. Pledger, "Sulfur Tolerant PdAu and PdAuPt Alloy Hydrogen Separation Membranes ," J. Membrane Science, 405-406, 11-19 (2012).
Dolan, M. D., McLennan, K. G. and J. D. Way, "Diffusion of atomic hydrogen through BCC alloy membranes under non-dilute conditions," J. Phys. Chem. C, 116, 1512-1518 (2012).
Gade, S.K., Chmelka, S. J., Parks, S., Way, J. D. and C. A. Wolden, "Dense carbide/metal composite membranes for hydrogen separations without platinum group metals," Advanced Materials, 23(31), 3585–3589 (2011).
Ostwal, M., Singh, R. P., Dec, S. F., Lusk, M. T. and J. D. Way, "3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane functionalized inorganic membranes for high temperature CO2/N2 separation," J. Membrane Science, 369, 139-147 (2011).
Hatlevik, Ø., Gade, S. K., Keeling, M. K., Thoen, P. M. and J. D. Way, " Palladium and Palladium Alloy Membranes for Hydrogen Separation and Production: History, Fabrication Strategies, and Current Performance," Separation and Purification Technology, 73, 59-64 (2010).
Singh, R. P., Way, J. D., and S. F. Dec, “Silane modified inorganic membranes: Effects of silane surface structure,”J. Membrane Science, 259 34-46 (2005).
Collins, J. P. and J. D. Way, "Preparation and Characterization of Palladium-Ceramic Composite Membranes," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 32, 3006-3013 (1993).