Responsive Material for Separation of Organics from Water and Methods Thereof

Technology #13534

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FIG. 1 depicts a table with the molar compositions of HBMA-VF-1 to HBMA-VF-5, which are made from hydroxybutyl methacrylate (HBMA) and vinylferrocene (VF) co-monomers, cross-linked using N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide (BIS) or ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA), and initiated using 2,2′-azobis(isobutyronitrile) (AIBN).  FIG. 2 depicts a bar graph showing the uptake of solvent by HBMA-VF-1 and HBMA-VF-2 gels (having low VF content) in reduced and oxidized states. Although HBMA-VF-1 and HBMA-VF-2 uptake a lot of butanol and very little water, their preference for both these compounds is not much different in the oxidized state.FIG. 3 depicts bar graphs showing uptake of solvent by HBMA-VF-3, HBMA-VF-4, HBMA-VF-5 gels (gels with high VF content) in the reduced and the oxidized states when immersed in BuOH (top bar graph) or water (bottom bar graph).FIGS. 4A-C depict graphs showing variation of KD and α with initial BuOH content of the supernatant for HBMA-VF-5 gel in the reduced (A) and oxidized states (B).FIGS. 4A-C depict graphs showing variation of KD and α with initial BuOH content of the supernatant for HBMA-VF-5 gel in the reduced (A) and oxidized states (B).FIG. 5 depicts reaction steps involved in the attachment of HBMA, VF co-polymer on a carbon black (CB) surface by (a) introduction of hydroxyl groups on CB surface, (b) attachment of diisocyanate to the CB surface, (c) introduction of azo-bis group, (d) generation of free radical by decomposition of azo-bis compound, and (e) growth of polymer chain on CB.
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Inventors
Professor Alan Hatton
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
External Link (web.mit.edu)
Lev Bromberg
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Abhinav Akhoury
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
Managed By
Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

Responsive materials for isolating organic compounds

US Patent 8,436,116

Applications

An application for this technology is in removal of low-molecular weight alcohols from water.

Problem Addressed

An issue with the current technology is its limited production rate.

Technology

The invention develops in-situ continuous separation systems which use stimuli-responsive polymers for low-molecular weight alcohol removal by using the polymers to bind alcohol in their reduced state the release the bound alcohol when the polymer is oxidized. The redox-responsive polymers contain redox-sensitive moieties (such as ferrocene) wherein the hydrophilicity of the polymer increases upon oxidation of the redox-responsive moieties. This novel method reduces the product inhibition effects that plague the production of low-molecular weight alcohol from bio-mass by fermentation process.

Advantages

  • Enhancement of the production of low-molecular weight alcohols