The research labs are located in the LEEP2 building on the University of Kansas Lawrence campus. The facility has 5,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art lab space and 2,000 sq. ft. of office space for graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, visiting scientists, and research faculty. The facility has 10 laboratory fume hoods (5 bench level and 5-floor mount level), 3 ventilated enclosures, a backup generator with uninterruptible power, four Scott air monitoring systems, ventilated cabinets for storage of flammable and toxic gases, and safety interlock systems.

They have extensive capabilities in thermophysical property measurements of gases and vapors in materials using a variety of characterization techniques. The group specializes in gravimetric measurements for determining the solubility and diffusivity of H2, He, O2, N2, NH3, CO2, CO, Ar, Kr, SO2, H2S, N2O, hydrocarbons (HCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) in a range of materials such as polymers, ionic liquids, zeolites, silica, carbon, catalysts, and membranes to name a few, over a wide range of temperatures (-196 ºC to 1000 ºC) and pressures (0.01 bar to 200 bar).

Advanced Sorption Analysis

Two XEMIS Gravimetric Microbalances

The XEMIS system is designed for studying a variety of applications including gas sorption analysis, kinetic analysis, hydrogen and methane storage, carbon dioxide sequestration, natural gas separation, and purification. The system was designed by Hiden Isochema Engineers with Exosensing technology which allows operation with corrosive and flammable gases over a broad range in pressure from 0 to 170 bar (2500 psi). The symmetric geometry of the system provides high precision and minimizes the buoyancy effects during the measurements. The various thermostat options (furnace, water bath, cryo cooling) allow measurements over a wide range in temperature from -196°C to 1000°C. The system can handle both solid and liquid samples with a maximum weight of 5 g. The measurement capacity from 0 – 200 mg has an accuracy of 0.2 μg. A safety interlock system has been designed which allows for continuous unattended operation. The second XEMIS microbalance is also set up with a first-of-a-kind multi-component sorption analysis module (MSAM). The KU Institute for Sustainable Engineering is the only academic lab in the United States that has a XEMIS gravimetric microbalance with the Integrated Mass Balance ( IMB) method for measuring sorption with gas mixtures.

Two Hiden Intelligent Gravimetric Analyzers

The Hiden Intelligent Gravimetric Analyzer (IGA) is a precision microbalance instrument designed to measure gas sorption in liquid and solid samples. The instrument accurately measures (P-x) vapor-liquid equilibrium data and has the ability to measure the surface area and pore size of solid samples. Additionally, the IGA instrument is coupled with an in-line mass spectrometer to analyze volatile species during thermal decomposition studies. The various temperature options range from -180 °C to 1000 °C. The instrument has an operating pressure range between high vacuum (10-9 bar) to 20 bar (~300 psi) with pressure control accurate to +/- 0.001 bar. The instrument can operate with a sample loading as small as 50 mg or as large as 5.0 g.

Hiden Intelligent Gravimetric Sorption Analyzer

The IGAsorp uses an ultrasensitive microbalance to accurately measure the weight of liquid and solid samples as the relative humidity and temperature of the enclosure are varied. It allows the study of vapor uptake and kinetics to characterize materials at specific conditions. This instrument features a large capacity balance and can accommodate samples less than 5 g while measuring with 0.05 μg to 0.1 μg accuracy. It also has an isothermal control range of 5°C to 250°C ± 0.01 °C and high-precision control of water partial pressure (≤ 500 mbar) at ±1 % RH

Setaram High-Pressure Calorimeter

High precision Calvet detector with high-pressure mixing cell.  Isothermal, scanning, and reaction calorimetry for measuring heats of absorption, desorption, reaction, and heat capacity of gases, liquids, and solids. Pressure range: vacuum to 200 bar ± 0.01 bar. Temperature range: 20 to 100 ± 0.1 °C. Sample size: 100 to 500 mg. Heat range to 2000 mW ± 0.1 µW. Setup in ventilated enclosure capable of handling both flammable and non-flammable gases. The KU Institute for Sustainable Engineering is the only academic lab in the United States that has a Setaram high-pressure calorimeter with an agitator for mixing.

Gas Separation and Characterization

Pressure-swing Absorption System

Automated bench-scale pressure-swing adsorption (PSA) system with four 1 kg beds to study gas separation such as removal of N2 from natural gas. On-line analytical capability using Hiden process mass-spectrometer with multiple sampling locations and automated sampling valve. National Instruments LabView data acquisition and control system. Operating pressure up to 50 bar (~750 psi) and a temperature range from ambient to 500 °C.

Micromeritics ASAP 2020c adsorption instrument for measuring BET surface area and pore volume distribution as well as chemisorption capacity.

High-pressure view-cells for vapor-liquid equilibrium, vapor-liquid-liquid equilibrium to pressures of vacuum to 300 bar (~4500 psi), temperatures from -70 to 200 °C, with sample sizes from 0.5 to 10 grams.

Densitometers and Viscometers

Both ambient pressure density and viscosity, as well as high-pressure density and viscosity, can be measured. Density can be measured from -70 to 200 °C over a pressure range from atmospheric pressure up to 1370 bar (20,000 psi) with a precision of ± 0.0001 g/cm3.  Viscosity can be measured from -70 to 200 °C over a pressure range from atmospheric pressure up to 1370 bar (20,000 psi) for fluids with viscosity ranging from 0.2 cP to 10,000 cP.  Sample sizes for both techniques are in the range of 10-30 mL.

Porous Materials Library

Dr. David Corbin who retired from DuPont in 2016 donated his library of zeolites, carbons, silicas, clays, alumina, ion-exchange resins, catalysts, and other adsorbents to the University of Kansas in 2017. The materials library contains >3000 unique samples of many types of porous materials for research.