Bio-Inspired Self-Healing Liquid Membranes for Unusual Particle Separation

Separation of substances is central to many industrial and medical processes ranging from wastewater treatment to medical diagnostics. Conventional membrane separation techniques allow particles below a critical size to pass through a membrane pore while inhibiting passage of particles larger than that critical size; membranes that show reversed behavior, i.e., passage of large particles and inhibition of small ones, are unusual in conventional engineering applications. This talk will introduce the concept of using liquid membranes to retain particles smaller than a critical size, and will explore how these membranes can allow for applications such as waste/odor management and surgery.

Additional Information:

Birgitt is a PhD student at The Pennsylvania State University in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, where her research has focused on bio-inspired surface engineering, wetting science, and the new concept of liquid membranes for particle separation. Birgitt is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Materials Research Society (MRS) Graduate Student Gold Award, MRS Nowick Graduate Student Award, and the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award. She is also a winner of the MRS iMatSci Innovator pitch competition as well as the Allegheny CleanTech University Prize competition.


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Media Contact: Erin Hendrick



The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

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