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Novel soft material synthesis with liquid phase architecture and interfacially active particles

Description:

Solvent transfer-induced phase separation to tailor bijel fiber properties

 

Inventors

Kathleen Stebe, Deputy Dean for Research & Innovation and Richer & Elizabeth Goodwin Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Daeyeon Lee, Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering 

 

Problem

Bicontinuous interfacially jammed emulsions (bijels) are novel soft materials that consist of two interwoven pore networks, each containing a liquid that is immiscible with the other.  The interface is stabilized by nanoparticles, providing high interfacial surface areas and robust mechanical properties.  Bijels have been limited to a small number of compatible oils and hydrophilic liquids.  Allowing reactants in the aqueous phase and products in the oil phase would create a continuous reactor, surpassing intrinsic limitations of emulsion microreactors.

 

Solution

Researchers in the Stebe and Lee labs have designed a method based on solvent transfer-induced phase separation (STRIPS) to continuously generate asymmetric and hierarchical bijels.  Using ternary liquid-liquid phase separation with a liquid architecture expands the possibilities of colloidal emulsions that can be generated.  Phase separation is induced by extraction of a solvent from a homogeneous ternary mixture.  The technique uses a rapid injection of a homogeneous mixture of three liquids into a continuous phase, with ethanol as a solvent to allow homogeneous mixing of the other two immiscible liquids.  Exposing the liquid fiber to UV light polymerizes the material, with the internal structure tuned by the nanoparticle concentration.  Multiple length scales can be accommodated for size-selective transport and separations.

 

  

 

Advantages

•       High interfacial surface areas

•       Compatible with wide range of materials

•       Size-selective

•       Control overall bijel shape

•       Continuous reactor

 

Applications

•       Filtration membranes to separate out pollutants, viruses, and bacteria from contaminated water

•       Emulsions for food and cosmetics

•       Fog harvesting for drinking water, crop irrigation, and forest restoration

•       Fiber scaffolds for tissue engineering

•       Catalytically active particles on surfaces

•       Continuous chemical reactions

•       Refining biofuels

 

 

Stage of Development

Proof-of-principle production of microparticle, fiber, and membrane bijel structures

 

Intellectual Property

PCT pending  (PCT/US2016/035031)

 

Reference Media

Haase MF et al.  ACS Nano, 2016, 10, p. 6338-6344.

Haase MF et al. Advanced Materials, 2015, 27, p. 7065-7071.

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Desired partnerships

• License

Co-development

 

 

Download PDF

 

Docket #  15-7452 

Patent Information:
Category(s):
Materials
For Information, Contact:
Sarah Johnson
Licensing Officer
University of Pennsylvania
johnsa@upenn.edu
Inventors:
Kathleen Stebe
Daeyeon Lee
Keywords: