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Purdue professors look to transform plastics: BTN LiveBIG

Only nine percent of the world’s 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste has ever been recycled, according to a 2017 study in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances. At the current rate, the amount of plastic in landfills will reach 12 billion metric tons by 2050.

Purdue University researchers receive $105,000 in funding to advance innovation commercialization

Four Purdue University researchers have received a total of $105,000 from the Trask Innovation Fund to further develop their technologies, which range from detecting minute cracks in infrastructure to creating cool pads for hogs. Linda Wang, the Maxine Spencer Nichols Professor of Chemical Engineering, received $25,000 for “New Technologies for Converting Polyolefin Plastic Waste into Pristine Polymers or Clean Fuels" to convert plastic waste into clean fuel or other useful products.

Welcome to the Wang Lab 

Nien-Hwa Wang is the Maxine Spencer Nichols Professor in the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering. Her research interests are in chemical and biochemical separations. Current projects are focused on adsorption and chromatography processes, which are highly selective and versatile techniques capable of producing pure materials of uniform size, shape, composition, and surface properties. The goals of her research are to understand the kinetics and equilibrium of competitive adsorption at liquid-solid interfaces and to develop novel, economical large scale adsorption processes. Various theoretical analyses, computer simulations, and experimental studies are used to address these key issues. In collaboration with industry and national laboratories, her research group is developing novel large scale simulated moving bed (SMB) chromatography processes for the recovery of nonbiodegradable chemicals from waste streams and a variety of biochemicals including sugars, antibiotics, anticancer drugs, amino acids, peptides, and proteins from biological sources. Analysis based on the concept of standing concentration waves has been developed to facilitate the design and optimization of multiple system and operating parameters in SMB systems for multicomponent fractionation. Computer simulations based on a detailed parallel pore and surface diffusion model have been developed to understand the transient wave propagation and its relation to port movement frequency and intra-column and extra-column mass transfer effects. A systematic SMB design and optimization method based on the standing wave analysis has been established. A versatile simulated moving bed pilot plant has been developed and tested for multi-component separation.