PI Pinar Akcora, associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $424,000 for her project “Directed Ionic Transport in Poly(Ionic Liquid)-Grafted Nanoparticles in Polarizable Media.”
This project aims to develop sustainable materials for their ion transport properties in solutions, which is important for membrane applications for water treatment and electrolytes for energy applications. Akcora will investigate the nanoscale dynamics, transport, and structural behavior of new polyelectrolyte- and poly(ionic liquid)-grafted nanoparticles in ionic medium. The project will investigate the concept of polarization of the ionic liquids and electrolyte chains for the first time, seeking to find transformative uses for magnetic polyelectrolyte hybrids. Conformational behavior of polyelectrolytes as well as ionic transport in poly(ionic liquid)-based copolymer grafted nanoparticles and their morphologies will determine the transport efficiency of the membranes.
Akcora plans to use the project deliverables in the undergraduate level chemical engineering courses and will also work with high school science teachers to help their course development on nanotechnology. The virtual Nanoscience Educator Workshops will be organized, and the data collected from the workshops and developed courses will be assessed by the education consultant.