Chemical Engineering Seminar: “Microscale Multi-Phase Flow Technologies for Sustainability, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Nanomaterial Synthesis” by Milad Abolhasani, Ph.D., Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambri

Friday, January 15, 2016 1:45 pm - 1:45 pm EST

ABSTRACT:  Molecular transport spanning multiple phases and drastically different length scales occurs in our daily life and controls our health and surrounding environment; such transport phenomena include greenhouse gas generation from combustion of fossil fuels and drug transport and delivery within the human body. A fundamental understanding of the microscale transport mechanisms would facilitate the development of energy-efficient carbon capture technologies, the design of more effective drug formulations, and the synthesis of environmentally friendly nanomaterials.

Capitalizing on the well-defined interfacial area and enhanced mass and heat transfer rates enabled by flow segmentation, microscale multi-phase flow platforms can be exploited for fundamental and applied studies of single/multi-phase chemical reactions as well as for tuning and optimization of physico-chemical properties of nanomaterials. This seminar will focus on microscale technologies tailored for studies of transport mechanisms in multi-phase flow. First, a continuous microfluidic strategy for systematic examination of microscale gas-liquid transport phenomena through automated screening of carbon dioxide (CO2) mass transfer and solubility in different physical/chemical absorbents will be discussed. Next, adaptation of this continuous microscale strategy for measurement of the thermodynamic characteristics of gas-liquid reactions and CO2-triggered liquid-liquid phase separation process will be presented. Finally, the mass transfer characteristics of a recently developed multi-phase oscillatory flow strategy for in-situ studies of relatively long (10-60 min) physical/chemical processes in a small (200 uL) flow reactor will be discussed. Case studies will include palladium-catalyzed C-C and C-N coupling reactions, octanol-water partitioning of drug molecules, and solution-phase processing of semiconductor nanocrystals.

Bio-sketch:  Dr. Milad Abolhasani is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his B.Sc. (2008) and M.A.Sc. (2010) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology and the University of British Columbia, respectively. Dr. Abolhasani obtained his Ph.D. degree (2014) from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, where he developed a microfluidic platform for fundamental and applied studies of thermodynamics and heat and mass transfer characteristics of gas-liquid reactions. Over the course of his doctoral and postdoctoral research, Dr. Abolhasani received numerous fellowships and awards including NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2017), CSME 2014 Best Graduate Student Paper award, Bert Wasmund Graduate Fellowship in Sustainable Energy Research (2010 & 2013), and Russell A. Reynolds Graduate Fellowship in Thermodynamics (2012). Dr. Abolhasani‘s research interests include deveopment of microscale flow technologies for fundamental studies of transport mechanisms associated with CO2 capture, recovery, and utilization in enhanced oil recovery and green chemistry (enabled by switchable solvents).