Sample Research Projects

  • Filters and Dust Masks
  • Nanofiber for Air Filtration
  • Nanoaerosol Characterization
  • SO2/NOx emission control
  • Portable PM2.5 monitor
  • Cyclone for PM emission control
  • Bioresource Technology

    Expertise at the Laboratory

    1) Green Energy

  • Hydrothermal conversion
  • Hydrogen production
  • Biomass and waste management

    2) Nanotechnology

  • Nanofiber and its applications
  • Nanoaerosol filtration
  • Nanoaerosol measurement
  • Nanoaerosol generation and characterization

    3) Post-combustion Air Emission Control

  • Acidic gas (CO2/SO2/NOx)absorption
  • Diesel engine emission abatement
  • Mass transfer between gas-liquid system
  • Chemical reaction kinetics

  • Description of Research Program

    Micro/Nano Technologies Canada strives to be a leader in global environmental protection, while improving public health and building a sustainable economy. However, our heavy reliance on energy-intensive industries makes it more difficult for Canada to meet its environmental commitments. With the recovery of the global economy, Canadian energy consumption is expected to keep increasing to 2025; and polllution will increase correspondingly. Canada needs fundamental research to support the development of cost-effective pollution control and green energy technologies as well as highly qualified personnel (HQP) in the field of clean air. The long-term goals of the program are aimed at advancing knowledge in the measurement and control of air emissions and the training of HQP in these fields.

    The research areas of at this Lab are thermal engineering sciences with applications to

  • green energy, and
  • pollution control.

    The short version of this connection is that thermal energy production from the combustion of fossil fuels and biofuels also creates primary air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM) and acidic gases (e.g., sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitric oxides (NOx), and carbon dioxide (CO2). The acidic gases are converted into secondary air pollutants, consisting mostly of aerosol particles suspended in the air. Recent advances in nanotechnology may also result in the direct formation of nanosized aerosols (nanoaerosols) when engineered nanomaterials become airborne during their making and utilization.

    Nanofiber for Air Filtration

    In recent years, nanofibers have emerged as an idea candidate for cost-effective air filtration. Nanofibers have special properties such as high surface area to volume ratio, high electric properties, excellent mechanical properties, and low basis weight. Finer fibers cause the slip-flow condition, which increases the interception and inertia impaction efficiency. Slip-flow conditions could also decrease the air flow resistance which reduce the pressure drop across the filter media. Consequently, employing the nanofibrous filter for nanoparticle filtration enhances the filter quality parameter.

    One of the most efficient technique for fabrication continuous nanofibers in the range of a few nanometers to several micrometers is electrospining. In this process a polymer solution is injected at a constant feed rate though a nozzle which is charged to a high voltage. The applied voltage induces a charge on the surface of the liquid droplet and when this is sufficiently high, the droplet is stretched and polymer jets are formed on the tip of the syringe and finally collected by the collector. Electrospun nanofibers also have potential applications to textile manufacturing, electronic application, membrane fuel cells, tissue engineering, drug delivery, and filtration.

    Our goals in this area are 1) to understand the nanoaerosol-nanofiber interfacial behavior, and 2) to develop cost-effective technologies for large scale nanofiber fabrication.

    Nanoaerosol Measurement

    sizer diagram sizer result Recent advances in nanotechnology have outpaced its monitoring techniques. Increased production of these technologies has led to increased amounts of airborne nanoparticles (sub-100 nm particles) and, consequently, growing environmental and health concerns. Submicron particles can penetrate deeply into the respiratory system, and smaller (<100 nm) particles can enter the circulation system. Nanosized particles may become more toxic than the micron ones made from the same material.

    Our team has been developing a cost-effective technology to directly measure the number distribution of airborne nanoparticles by diffusive charging and aerodynamic focusing. Theoretically, a properly designed focusing orifice could separate particles down to a couple of nanometers. The schematic diagram shows its working principle briefly. The newly improved prototype could reach down to 40 nm. The lower size limit and accuracy of this technology could be further improved with a better understanding of nanoparticle focusing and nanoaerosol charging.

    Nanoaeroosl research is mainly being supported by NSERC and CFI.

    Related powerpoint presentations:

  • Airborne Nanoparticle Measurement and Filtration

    Simutaneous absorption of NOx and SO2

    Sorbent The long-term objective of this research was to develop a cost-effective technology that can absorb NOx and SO2 simultaneously from a post combustion process. This research addressed the following two major challenges facing scientists and engineers in related field: 1) Effective oxidation of insoluble NO and 2) the hostility of SO2 on the absorption of NO. Both problems prevail in existing technologies, but we believe that it can be solved by good designs in reactors and selecting a novel catalyst. This proposed research will start from a bench scale batch reactor and end at a continuously operating prototype with solvent regeneration. The performances of the systems are expected to be improved by increasing the contact areas between the gas and liquid phases using spray droplets. The associated fundamentals was investigated in the three-year period by laboratory experiments.

    More information can be found in this PPT Presentation

    This project was supported by NSERC and Imperial Oil Ltd.

    PM<sub>2.5</sub> sampler

    Portable PM2.5 Monitoring Device

    Last three decades saw a great economic growth in China. As a result, air pollution resulted from energy production and transportation has been extraordinary in almost every major Chinese city. PM2.5 level has been so high in China that it is now a national priority. Citizens desire an affordable portable PM2.5 monitor for their personal use.

    Existing PM2.5 measurement tools are primary offline based on gravimetric method. They take samples from the air and weight the filters after a certain sampling duration. This type of approach lasts from a few hours to a few days, depending on the PM2.5 concentration in the air. In addition, Europe and the American companies have been developing online PM2.5 monitoring devices. These instruments are primarily for government air monitoring network; they are far from being affordable to a typical Chinese family.

    Our team has developed a real-time portable PM2.5 monitoring technology. Ongoing aims at its application to transportation sector.

    Funding is provided by NSERC and a Chinese private company

    Bioresource Technology


    More information can be found at this PPT presentation


  • Cyclone for PM Control