About the Multidisciplinary Seminar Program

Created in 1995, the Escola Tecnica Superior d'Enginyeria Quimica (ETSEQ) at Universitat Rovira i Virgili aims at becoming an international reference in chemical engineering education and research. The ETSEQ is located in an area that is socially and economically very dynamic, and that is home to one of the most important centers of chemical industry in southern Europe.

The Multidisciplinary Seminar Program is both the seminar series for faculty and researchers in the ETSEQ, and a mandatory class for its graduate students. The Program aims at inviting leading international researchers working on areas that are of interest to faculty and researchers in the School.

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Next seminar (Oct. 31, 2014)

Graduate students seminar (Maria Serral, Shailesh Sable)

Location: Sala de Graus, ETSEQ
Start time: 12 p.m.


Maria Serral — Coarse-grained simulations of diblock copolymers in thin films

We study the arrangements of sphere-forming diblock copolymers in thin films, formed on chemically patterned substrates, via cell dynamics simulation. Diblock copolymers have many potential uses in nanotechnological applications because of the large variety of nanostructures that they can form. Diblock copolymers are macromolecules consisting of two or more covalently bonded blocks of different monomers with different physicochemical properties that can self-assemble into microdomains, on a scale of 10-100nm in the bulk. In thin films the geometric confinement and the substrate interfacial energy profile defining the pattern give rise to structures that differ from the bulk ones. Additionally, the use of external forces permits to control the assembly and tailor the final morphology.
Hence, in our work, we aim at describing how the effect of the confinement as well as the characteristics of the pattern on the surface (stripes of a given width with selective preference for one of the blocks) influence the structures formed in the film. Producing long-range ordered nano-spheres could be used for the fabrication of nanostructured media, for example. The use of cell dynamics simulation techniques (representing a coarse-grained approach of the molecular model) permits to predict the equilibrium structures of these systems and, furthermore, it provides additional insight on the dynamics of the formation of the patterns in the system.

Shailesh Sable — Development of novel catalytic materials for removal of emerging organic pollutants by Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs)

Disposal of wastewater streams containing highly toxic organic pollutants generated by many industrial processes has become a growing concern. Pharmaceutical compounds are among the group of emerging pollutants as their toxic effect even at very low concentration has raised a big concern. Phenols present a particular issue as they are widely discharged into environment and due to their toxicity to many living organism. Therefore, there is crucial need of developing efficient and ecologically friendly methods to treat contaminated waters and reduce or completely eliminate pollutants. Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) have been precisely defined as water treatment processes performed at room temperature and normal pressure and based on the in situ generation of a powerful oxidizing agent, such as hydroxyl radicals (.OH) in sufficient quantity for effective decontamination of water.
The main aim of our work is to develop new catalytic materials and promising, efficient and environmental-friendly methods for the degradation and mineralization of organic pollutants. Different families of catalysts like hydrotalcite and spinel-type, FeOOH-derived, Pd-immobilized hydrophilic and hydrophobic Fe-ZSM5, Fe/ZrO~2~/sulfated-ZrO~2~ and Cu-Al oxide catalysts were synthesized and their activity and stability was studied. In this work, we investigate the efficiency of these catalytic materials for the degradation and mineralization of clofibric acid (CFA) and phenol by two types of advanced oxidation treatments: catalytic ozonation and Fenton–like process. All catalysts were characterized by XRD, XPS, HR-TEM, TPR, N~2~ physisorption and ICP and act as promising catalysts for the degradation and mineralization of CFA (emerging pharmaceutical pollutants) and phenol like organic compounds. Among all the catalysts screened, the Cu-Al oxide catalyst prepared by a co-precipitation method, showed an excellent activity and stability in catalytic ozonation of CFA, achieving 82% and 96% mineralization in 2 and 6h, respectively. Pd/Fe-ZSM5 (combined approach of adsorption/oxidation) type catalysts have also presented good performance in the removal of phenol by heterogeneous Fenton-like process.

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