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M. Douglas LeVan

J. Lawrence Wilson Professor of Chemical Engineering, Emeritus
Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Emeritus

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Intellectual Neighborhoods

Research Focus

Research is being carried out on several aspects of fixed-bed adsorption for the purpose of improving understanding and design methods. Our interests involve the thermodynamic interpretation and accurate correlation of adsorption equilibria and the prediction of the performance of fixed-bed adsorption systems over repeated cycles. Adsorption from the vapor phase is emphasized. On adsorption equilibria, the group considers theory and experiments ranging from single component adsorption equilibria to highly nonideal multicomponent adsorption such as for mixtures of organic molecules and water. On cycles, both pressure-swing and temperature-swing adsorption are considered with emphasis on the behavior of systems with short cycle times and optimal performance. Research is also being carried out on adsorptive heat pumps to provide halocarbon-free alternatives to current technology.
The laboratory focuses broadly on gas-solid adsorption processes to increase understanding and improve design methods. Research is balanced equally between theory and experiment. Topics of current interest include:
  • Adsorption equilibria for highly nonideal multicomponent mixtures and microporous adsorbent materials. Our interests involve the thermodynamic interpretation and accurate correlation of adsorption equilibria. Coadsorption of organic molecules and water on activated carbons has been an area of major focus.
  • Modeling of fixed-bed adsorption processes. We develop models of varying degrees of complexity. Some simple models are based on the assumption of local equilibrium. More complex models include complex equilibria, complex rate behavior, and nonisothermal behavior. Additionally, we have developed general methods to give accelerated convergence of the models to the final cyclic condition, i.e., the periodic state. Recent emphasis has been on pressure swing adsorption, temperature swing adsorption, and adsorptive refrigeration (providing a halocarbon-free alternative to current heat pump technology).
  • Treatment of rate mechanisms for fixed-bed adsorption with emphasis on dispersion and on new frequency response experimental methods.
  • Synthesis of novel adsorbents. We are emphasizing well characterized, nanoporous carbonaceous materials.

Professional Activities

Society Direction

  • AIChE National Program Committee:
  • Area 2e (Adsorption and Ion Exchange), Chair, 1985-1987
  • Group 1 (Engineering Sciences and Fundamentals), Chair, 1989-1991
  • Group 2 (Separations Division), Chair, 1998

International Adsorption Society:

  • Director, 1992-1998
  • Editorial Advisory Boards
  • Adsorption, 1993-
  • Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 1997-1999

Meetings Organized

  • Chair, Fifth International Conference on Fundamentals of Adsorption, Pacific Grove, California, May 1995
  • Co-Director, NSF-CNRS Workshop on Adsorption Processes for Gas Separation, Gif sur Yvette, France, September 1991
  • Meeting Program Vice Chair, AIChE 1989 Annual Meeting, San Francisco, California, November 1989
  • Co-Director, NATO Advanced Study Institute on Adsorption: Science and Technology, Vimeiro, Portugal, July 1988

Professional Short Course

"Adsorption Technology," The Center for Professional Advancement, East Brunswick, New Jersey (with K. S. Knaebel and G. V. Baron), 1993, 1996.

Selected Publications:

  • LeVan, M. D., Carta, G. (co-section eds.), "Adsorption and Ion Exchange," Section 16
  • in Green, D. W. (ed.), Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, 8th edn., McGraw-Hill, New York, 2008.
  • Giesy, T. J., and LeVan, M. D., "Contributions to Frequency Response Models for Mass Transfer in Adsorbents," Chem. Eng. Sci., 116, 745-751 (2014).
  • Darbandi, M., Gebre, T., Mitchell, L., Erwin, W., Bardhan, R., LeVan, M. D., Mochena, M. D., and Dickerson, J. H., "Nanoporous TiO2 Nanoparticle Assemblies with Mesoscale Morphologies: Nano-Cabbage Versus Sea-Anemone," Nanoscale, 6, 5652-5656 (2014).
  • Mitchell, L. A., Tovar, T. M., and LeVan, M. D., "High Pressure Excess Isotherms for Adsorption of Oxygen and Argon in a Carbon Molecular Sieve," Carbon, 74, 120-126 (2014).
  • Giesy, T. J., Mitchell, L. A., and LeVan, M. D., "Mass Transfer of Binary Mixtures of Oxygen and Argon in a Carbon Molecular Sieve," Ind. Eng. Chem. Research, 53, 9221-9227 (2014).
  • Wycisk, R., Barpaga, D., Pintauro, S., LeVan, M. D., and Pintauro, P. N., "Electrospun Zirconium Hydroxide Nanoparticle Fabrics as Sorptive/Reactive Media," Adsorption, 20, 261-266 (2014).
  • Bae, Y.-S. Liu, J., Wilmer, C. E., Sun, H., Dickey, A. N., Kim, M. B., Willis, R. R., LeVan, M. D., and Snurr, R. Q., "Effect of Pyridine Modification of Ni/DOBDC on CO2 Capture Under Humid Conditions," Chem. Commun., 50, 3296-3298 (2014).
  • Schindler, B. J., Mitchell, L. A., McCabe, C., Cummings, P. T., and LeVan, M. D., "Adsorption of Chain Molecules in Slit-Shaped Pores: Development of a SAFT-FMT-DFT Approach," J. Phys. Chem. C, 117, 21337-21350 (2013).
  • Wang, Yu, Mahle, J. J., Furtado, A. M. B., Glover, T. G., Buchanan, J. H., Peterson, G. W., and LeVan, M. D., "Mass Transfer and Adsorption Equilibrium for Low Volatility Alkanes in BPL Activated Carbon," Langmuir, 29, 2935-2945 (2013).
  • Giesy, T. J., and LeVan, M. D., "Mass Transfer Rates of Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Argon in Carbon Molecular Sieves Determined by Pressure-Swing Frequency Response," Chem. Eng. Sci., 90, 250-257 (2013).
  • Furtado, A. M. B., Wang, Yu, and LeVan, M. D., "Carbon Silica Composites for Sulfur Dioxide and Ammonia Adsorption," Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 165, 48-54 (2013).
  • Furtado, A. M. B., Barpaga, D., Mitchell, L. A., Wang, Yu, DeCoste, J. B., Peterson, G. W., and LeVan, M. D., "Organoalkoxysilane-Grafted Silica Composites for Acidic and Basic Gas Adsorption," Langmuir, 28, 17450-17456 (2012).
  • Giesy, T. J., Wang, Yu, and LeVan, M. D., "Measurement of Mass Transfer Rates in Adsorbents: New Combined--Technique Frequency Response Apparatus and Application to CO2 in 13X Zeolite," Ind. Eng. Chem. Research, 51, 11509-11517 (2012).
  • Liu, J., Benin, A. I., Furtado, A. M. B., Jakubczak, P., Willis, R. R., and LeVan, M. D., "Stability Effects on CO2 Adsorption for the DOBDC Series of Metal-Organic Frameworks," Langmuir, 27, 11451-11456 (2011).
  • Wang, Yu, Helvensteijn, B., Nizamidin, N., Erion, A. M., Steiner, L. A., Mulloth, L. M., Luna, B., and LeVan, M. D., "High Pressure Excess Isotherms for Adsorption of Oxygen and Nitrogen in Zeolites," Langmuir, 27, 10648-10656 (2011).
  • Liu, J., LeVan, M. D., Do, D. D., "Accessible Volumes for Adsorption in Carbon Nanopores of Different Geometries and Wall Thicknesses," J. Phys. Chem. C, 115, 12077-12081 (2011).
  • Furtado, A. M. B., Liu, J., Wang, Yu, and LeVan, M. D., "Mesoporous Silica - Metal Organic Composite: Synthesis, Characterization, and Ammonia Adsorption," J. Materials Chemistry, 21, 6698-6706 (2011).
  • Furtado, A. M. B., Wang, Yu, Glover, T. G., and LeVan, M. D., "MCM-41 Impregnated with Active Metal Sites: Synthesis, Characterization, and Ammonia Adsorption," Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 142, 730-739 (2011).
  • Wang, Yu, and LeVan, M. D., "Master Curves for Mass Transfer in Bidisperse Adsorbents for Pressure-Swing and Volume-Swing Frequency Response Methods," AIChE Journal, 57, 2054-2069 (2011).