2019 Cooperative Research Award in Applied Polymer Science Winners

The 2019 Cooperative Research Award in Applied Polymer Science recognizes the team of researchers from NIST, Pennsylvania State University, University of Florida, and Dow Chemical for their work on improved materials for reverse osmosis (RO) desalination membranes. The collaborative research team is represented by Dr. Christopher Stafford (NIST), Dr. Edwin Chan (NIST), Professor Michael Hickner (Penn State), Professor Coray Colina (University of Florida), Dr. James Sturnfield (Dow Chemical), Dr. Steven Rosenberg (Dow Chemical), and Dr. Abhishek Roy (Dow Chemical).  This collaborative team from industrial, government and academic research laboratories delivered quantitative models to explain current performance limits and to guide future improvements of RO membrane materials. The work resulted in major breakthroughs in the understanding of the water purification membranes that play a central role in addressing water crisis. The team is credited with simultaneous development of homogenous membrane materials with systematic structural variations, advanced analytical techniques to quantify materials structure, and integrated computational models in a manner that establish fundamental structure-property-processing relationship for RO membranes.

The team was led by Dr. Christopher M. Stafford from NIST. Dr. Stafford received PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering from UMass Amherst and has been at NIST since 2001, first as a post-doctoral researcher (2001-2004) and then as a research staff of Materials Science and Engineering Division. Dr. Edwin P. Chan of NIST received PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering from UMass Amherst and has been working at NIST since 2011. He is currently the project leader of Mechanics of Polymers and Interfaces program at NIST. Professor Michael Hickner is an associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering Department at Penn State. He received PhD in Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech, worked at Sandia National Laboratory first as a post-doctoral fellow (2003-4) and then as a senior member of the technical staff (2004-7), and joined Penn State in 2007 as an assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering Department. Professor Coray M. Collina currently a professor of chemistry at University of Florida Gainesville received PhD degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University and worked at Penn State during 2007-15 as an associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Steven Rosenberg is currently a research fellow at Dow Waters and Process Solutions of Dow Chemical Company. Dr. Rosenberg received PhD degree in organometallic chemistry from Penn State. Dr. James Sturnfield received PhD is mathematics from Purdue University and has been working at Dow Chemical since 2005 as a research scientist. He recently served as the manager of the project on reverse osmosis membrane modeling-structure relations. Dr. Abhishek Roy is currently at Dow Chemical as a Lead R&D Manager. Dr. Roy received PhD in Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech.

For more information, contact Professor Sadhan C. Jana, University of Akron, Chairman, PMSE Cooperative Research Award Committee, Telephone:  330-972-8293, janas@uakron.edu.