MSA Distinguished Lecture Series – Prof. Benny D. Freeman

MSA Distinguished Lecture Series – various talks 

Prof Benny D. Freeman
Center for Materials for Water and Energy Systems (M-WET)
Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of Texas at Austin

For thousands of years, separation of mixtures has been practiced by humans. In Meteorologica, Aristotle noted that “salt water when it turns into vapour becomes sweet, and the vapour does not form salt water when it condenses again. This I know by experiment.” [1] In 1752, Abbé Jean Antoine Nollet reported separating mixtures of “spirits of wine” using a pigskin bladder as a membrane. [2] In 1829, Sir Thomas Graham reported that membranes made from natural rubber could remove oxygen from air, which he called “dialyzing” air: “This dialyzed air rekindled glowing wood, so as to illustrate the direct separation of oxygen gas from atmospheric air.” [3] From these early observations have sprung modern industrial separations that can efficiently desalinate water, purify gases for chemical and petrochemical applications, and remove CO2, implicated in global warming, from the air. This presentation will trace the history of separation membranes from their ancient roots to modern times and provide a view of the future of such membranes to address emerging and as yet unsolved separations problems important in areas such as lithium mining for exploding demand for lithium ion batteries for cars, electronics, and more.


University of Technology Sydney 
Room: CB11.04.102
12:00pm Monday 25 November 2019 

Monash University,
New Horizions G29/30
10:00am Tuesday 26 November 2019

Membranes in the Water Industry Workshop,
Pan Pacific Melbourne-
9am-1pm, Wednesday 27 November 2019

iEESEP2019 Conference
Pan Pacific Melbourne
1:30pm, Thursday 28 November 2019

CSIRO (Hobart)
CSIRO / University of Tasmania
3:30pm, Sunday 1 December

Biography: Benny Freeman is the William J. (Bill) Murray, Jr. Endowed Chair in Engineering in the Chemical Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Austin. Following undergraduate studies at NC State University, he earned a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley in 1988. Then, he served as a NATO postdoctoral fellow at the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris (ESPCI), Laboratoire Physico-Chimie Structurale et Macromoléculaire in Paris, France, where Pierre and Marie Curie did many of their early studies of radioactivity. Dr. Freeman was a member of the chemical engineering faculty at NC State University from 1989 – 2002, and he has been a professor of chemical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin since then. His research group of 20 Ph.D. students and 2 postdoctoral fellows, performs fundamental research in new materials for desalination, hydrogen separation, natural gas purification, and carbon capture. He is Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Center for Materials for Water and Energy Systems (M-WET).

His research is described in 450 publications and 25 patents/patent applications. He has co-edited 5 books on these topics. He has won a number of awards, including a Fulbright Distinguished Chair (2017), Fellow of the North American Membrane Society (NAMS) (2017), Distinguished Service Award from the Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) Division of the American Chemical Society (ACS) (2015), Joe J. King Professional Engineering Achievement Award from The University of Texas (2013), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Clarence (Larry) G. Gerhold Award (2013), Society of Plastics Engineers International Award (2013), Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings from the PMSE Division of ACS (2012), the ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science (2009), and the AIChE Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology (2008). He is a Fellow of the AAAS, AIChE, ACS, and the PMSE and IECR Divisions of ACS. He has served as chair of the PMSE Division of ACS, chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Membranes: Materials and Processes, President of the North American Membrane Society, Chair of the Membranes Area of the Separations Division of the AIChE, and Chair of the Separations Division of AIChE. He currently serves as Past Chair of the Admissions Committee for AIChE. His research has served as the basis for several startup companies, including Energy-X and NALA Systems

[1] Aristotle with E.W. Webster, trans., Meteorologica, in: Ross, W. D., ed., The Works of Aristotle, vol. 3, (Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1931), Book III, pp. 358-9.
[2] Jean Antoine (Abbé) Nollet, “Investigations on the causes for the ebullition of liquids,” Journal of Membrane Science 100 (1995) 1-3.
[3] Thomas Graham, On the absorption and dialytic separation of gases by colloidal septa Part I. – Action of a septum of caoutchouc, Journal of Membrane Science, 100 (1995) p. 27-31.