Six CBE students receive Slatt Fellowships for energy research

Six students in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering — Neila Gross, Brian Kang, Collin Kemper, Cara Kilmartin, Christina Tan, and Noah Wamble — have received the Vincent P. Slatt Fellowship for Undergraduate Research in Energy Systems and Processes.

They will conduct energy-related research through the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy).

Neila Gross will investigate sonication as a “green approach” to removing biofilms for her project, “Understanding the Effects of Sonication on Biofilm Removal.” Microbial growths affect water filtration processes in engineered systems, coating pipelines and ship hulls and increasing hydraulic drag. She will work in ND Energy’s Materials Characterization Facility to measure biofilm viscosity and shear modulus before and after sonication. Her advisors are Albert Cerrone and Robert Nerenberg, faculty in civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences.

Brian Kang’s project “How Chloride Suppresses Photoinduced Phase Segregation in Mixed Halide Perovskites” focuses on the excited state properties of different types of perovskite materials. He will work with Prashant Kamat, the Rev. John A. Professor of Science, to identify how various amounts of chloride affect the rate and amount of halide segregation from the mixed phase and will analyze the change in activation energy.

Collin Kemper’s project is “Optimization of Fog Harps as an Energy-Free Method to Collect Drinking Water for Caribbean Nations.” Earlier this year he developed a bench-scale device to capture the potable water present in fog. He will continue this work, conducting a life cycle analysis with conventional water treatment technologies to ensure the device, when scaled to optimum size, would be affordable and easily implemented in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. His advisor is Kyle Doudrick, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences.

Cara Kilmartin will study alternative processes for producing usable water from nontraditional sources. She has developed the framework of a diafiltration model and will conduct experiments on the selectivity and permeability of the model. Her project “Resource Recovery using Diafiltration Membrane Modeling and Separation Processes” will be conducted in the WATER lab under the supervision of William Phillip, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Christina Tan will identify and quantify defects in porous materials using machine learning algorithms as part of her project, “Automated Detection of Defects in Porous Materials with Machine Learning.” Her results will be valuable to the porous material and energy communities as the defects in a material can affect energy-related applications, such as catalysis, gas storage, and separations. Tan’s advisor is Yamil Colón, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Noah Wamble’s project focuses on the widespread and growing use of lithium-ion batteries despite insufficient supply of materials such lithium and cobalt. He will explore recycling technologies for batteries, specifically how a diafiltration system could be used to separate lithium and colbalt in a membrane cascade. He also will use data science to calculate new configurations for membrane cascades in order to achieve higher recycling recovery rates. Wamble’s advisor is Alexander Dowling, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

Since 2006, Slatt Fellowships have been made possible through the generosity of Christopher (’80) and Jeanine Slatt in honor of Vincent P. Slatt, Notre Dame Class of 1943.

Nina Welding, College of Engineering