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Countercurrent Concentration of Gases and Development of Dynamic Surface Remodeling

  • Author(s): Brubaker, Kyle
  • Advisor(s): Esser-Kahn, Aaron P
  • et al.
Abstract

Nature, while slow to change, has had the benefit of billions of years competitive pressure to hone approaches to interesting problems. In this work, we take advantage of this preexisting work, and make progress towards replicating the benefits found in nature in artificial systems. Taking inspiration from dynamic, living structures such as bone, and muscle, we demonstrate partial synthetic recreations of the conceptual pieces required to mimic such materials. Diffusion controlled etching is used to demonstrate functional optimization of preexisting structures. Incorporating growth into the system allows dynamic, reversible changes in structure to take place. We show the migration of a channel through a solid matrix. We also took inspiration from deep sea fish to develop a device that concentrates gas more efficiently than a simple countercurrent flow separator. Existing methods including hollow fiber membrane contactors, vacuum swing adsorption, and cryogenic distillation represent a significant portion of the worlds energy needs. Countercurrent amplifiers found in the swimbladders of teleost fish, can efficiently concentrate gases at least 15,000 times above the ambient concentrations. Incorporating the architecture found in the swim bladders of deep sea fish with modern CO2 and O2 capture fluids enables a feedback loop of concentration within our artificial device to drive an increase in the release rates of both gases.

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