Special Seminar: Breakthrough Water Purification Technologies based on Nanofibrous Membranes - Benjamin S. Hsiao - Feb. 20

Benjamin S. Hsiao 
Department of Chemistry 
Stony Brook University 
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3400 

Time: 11:00 am-noon, February 20, 2015 
Location: 2045 Bainer Hall

The fabrication of nanofibers can be accomplished by using a variety of methods, including electro-spinning and a combination of chemical/mechanical processes, especially for cellulose, as a form of green sustainable resource material. Non-woven nanofiber mats have unique properties, such as interconnected pores, a very large surface-to-volume ratio, and a high capacity for surface modifications, making such scaffolds useful for fabrication of high throughput separation membranes. Directed water channels in the barrier layer are formed through the formation of interface between the cross-linked nanofibers and the polymer matrix, while the gap thickness may be regulated by physical interactions or chemical bonding. 

In the present context, advances in electro-spinning and fundamental studies on nascent cellulose crystals by means of synchrotron x-ray scattering have provided us with new insight to use the fibrous format with varying pore sizes for applications from micro-filtration via ultra-filtration to nano-filtration. We have taken advantage of unique breakthroughs in chemical modifications and physical scale-up transformations to drastically improve filtration membrane development with predesigned properties. In particular, we have, for example, examined the NF membrane performance as influenced by the barrier layer substrate and reduced fouling by using a highly hydrophilic barrier layer. Performance characteristics of nanofibrous scaffolds for water purification applications are presented. 

Selected References 
1. Benjamin Chu and Benjamin S. Hsiao, The Role of Polymers in Breakthrough Technologies for Water Purification, J. Polymer Sci. Part B: Polymer Phys., Viewpoint, 47, 2431-2435 (2009) 
2. Hongyang Ma, Christian Burger, Benjamin S. Hsiao and Benjamin Chu, Ultra-Fine Cellulose Nanofibers: New Nano-Scale Materials for Water Purification, J. Mat. Chem., Highlight, 21, 7507-7510 (2011) 
3. Anna Sato, Ran Wang, Hongyang Ma, Benjamin S. Hsiao, Benjamin Chu, Novel Nanofibrous Scaffolds for Water Filtration with Bacteria and Virus Removal Capability, J. of Electron Microscopy, 60(3), 201209 (2011). Editors Choice Article 
4. Hongyang Ma, Christian Burger, Benjamin S. Hsiao and Benjamin Chu, Nanofibrous Microfiltration Membrane Based on Cellulose Nanowhiskers, Biomacromolecules, 13, 180-186 (2012) 
5. Hongyang Ma, Christian Burger, Benjamin S. Hsiao and Benjamin Chu, Highly Permeable Polymer Membranes containing Directed Channels for Water Purification, ACS Macro Letters, Viewpoint, 1(6), 723-726, (2012). 

Short CV 
Dr. Benjamin S. Hsiao was born in Taiwan and received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from National Taiwan University. In 1982, he went to the U.S. for graduate studies, receiving his PhD degree in Materials Science from the University of Connecticut and his post-doctorate training in Chemistry and Polymer Science & Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He then joined E. I. DuPont Company as a staff scientist in the Experimental Station at Wilmington, Delaware and spent 8 years in R&D before coming to the Chemistry Department of Stony Brook University in 1997 as an Assistant Professor. Hsiao became a Full Professor in 2002 and he assumed the Chair Position in the Chemistry Department from 2007 to 2012. He took the Vice President for Research and Chief Research Officer positions at Stony Brook University from 2012 to 2013 for 1.5 years. In this position, he was responsible for the campus-wide advancement of Stony Brook's research mission through strategic planning and oversaw the Research Foundation, supervised all University research administration activities and functions, and was the primary advocate for the University's research enterprise on a state, national and international level. Currently, Hsiao is the Founding Director of Innovative Global Energy Solutions Center, aiming to prototype sustainability for off-grid communities of tomorrow, using the Turkana Basin Institute in northern Kenya as a living laboratory. This center aims to address the grand challenges of energy, water and information technology sustainability in the remote regions of the developing world, and offer economic development opportunity to local communities through research and education. 

Hsiao has achieved national and international prominence and has a distinguished reputation in polymer science. His current research interests are mainly focused on the development of new nanostructured polymeric materials for water purification. He published over 425 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 41 reviews and chapters in books and encyclopedias, 227 conference proceedings, obtained 32 issued patents and 21 pending patent applications, and edited 2 books. Based on these accomplishments, he was elected as Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Fellow of National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and received the Chang-Jiang Professor Scholarship from the Education Ministry of China.