CEE Seminar: Sustainable Materials, by Design
Materials enable technologies that advance our global society and economy. Yet, history presents many salient examples in which indiscriminate advancement leads to adverse consequences that arise from the many choices we make, from the raw materials we use to how new technologies are made. These decisions have upstream (e.g., embodied resources) and downstream (e.g., emissions) implications that effect the environment and societal health. Design decisions at the molecular level have cascading implications throughout the lifetime of a material. Further, design decisions that tackle a single sustainable improvement of a technology often transfer, rather than comprehensively eliminate, adverse impacts. Incorporating systems-level analyses - using tools like life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) - with the design of new materials and technologies uncovers high impact contributors that otherwise remain hidden at early development stages. Analysis results can then be used to guide lower impact redesign when inertia for such a change is low.
In this seminar, I will discuss my approach to sustainable material design, underlining the role of material chemistry in tuning desired and undesired properties. I will share learnings from the past 12 years of my work on carbon nanomaterials and how they translate to the design and development of a sustainable photocatalyst (graphitic carbon nitride, g-C3N4) for drinking water disinfection applications. Finally, I will use this current project to demonstrate how we incorporate LCIA with material design to guide our decision-making towards a holistic sustainable solution.
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Meeting ID: 950 9552 4710