• Nano-Enabled Water Technologies

Invited SpeakersProfile Details

Prof. Isabel Escobar
Prof. Isabel Escobar Dr. Isabel Escobar is a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Escobar’s research focuses on developing and/or improving polymeric membrane materials for water treatment and water reuse operations.

Biography

​Dr. Isabel Escobar is a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Escobar’s research focuses on developing and/or improving polymeric membrane materials for water treatment and water reuse operations. In the field of membrane separations, she has been the PI of numerous membrane research projects. In 2009, Isabel Escobar was awarded the Northwest Ohio YWCA Milestone Award for Education, and the Toledo 20 Under 40 Leadership award. Also in 2009, she became the Associate Editor of Environmental Progress and Sustainable Energy Journal, a quarterly publication of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. In 2011, she received the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Separations Division FRI/John G. Kunesh Award. Isabel Escobar and her research group have published over 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals, have made over 150 presentations at national/international conferences, and edited two books. In September of 2015, Escobar gave a TEDx talk on Worldwide Water Issues. Isabel Escobar has made numerous media appearances, including the Wall Street Journal, NPR and Al Jazeera America.  She is the Past-President of the North American Membrane Society and Chair the Association for Women In Science (AWIS) Chapters and Affiliates Committee.Dr. 

All sessions by Prof. Isabel Escobar

  • Day 2Tuesday, January 29th
10:00 am

Reactive polymer nanocomposite membranes with phosphorene-based pore fillers for water treatment

Phosphorene is two-dimensional material exfoliated from bulk phosphorus and it possesses a band gap. Specifically, relevant to the field of membrane science, the band gap of phosphorene provides it with potential photocatalytic properties, which could be explored in making reactive membranes that can self-clean. The goal of this study was to develop an innovative and robust membrane able to control and reverse fouling with minimal changes in membrane performance. To this end, for the first time, membranes have been embedded with phosphorene. Membrane modification was verified by the presence of phosphorus on membranes, along with changes in surface charge, average pore size and hydrophobicity. After modification, phosphorene-modified membranes were used to filter methylene blue (MB) under intermittent ultraviolet light irradiation. Phosphorene-modified and unmodified membranes displayed similar rejection of MB; however, after reverse-flow filtration was performed to mimic pure water cleaning, the average recovered flux of phosphorene-modified membranes was four times higher than that of unmodified membranes. Furthermore, coverage of MB on phosphorene membranes after reverse-flow filtration was four times lower than that of unmodified membranes, which supports the hypothesis that phosphorene membranes operated under intermittent ultraviolet irradiation can become self-cleaning.

Auditorium between bldg. 4 & 5, level 0 10:00 - 10:30 Details