STTR Phase I: Nanofiber Fabrication vis Melt Coextrusion for Fuel Filter Membranes

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1346309
Agency Tracking Number: 1346309
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NM
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2013
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2014-12-31
Small Business Information
7650 Hub Parkway, Cleveland, OH, 44125-5707
DUNS: 961869364
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Michael Ponting
 (216) 264-4818
Business Contact
 Michael Ponting
Phone: (216) 264-4818
Research Institution
 Case Western Reserve University
 Nord Hall, Suite 615
 () -
 Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is geared toward the production of previously unprocessible polymer composite fiber materials aimed at improving performance in membrane and fuel filtering applications through environmentally friendly melt coextrusion processing of polymer fibers. This melt process strategy offers a unique opportunity to fabricate nanofibers that is typically processed by many solvent-based techniques. This proposed STTR program will demonstrate processing of novel composite, micro- and nanolayered fiber materials via a solvent-free fabrication process capable of continuous mass production and membrane formation at a potentially lower production cost than the current state-of-the art manufacturing methods. The unique ability of the polymer layering coextrusion process enables the combination of dissimilar polymer materials, creating composite multifibers of specific size and aspect ratio, hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity. Through proof-of-concept fabrication and optimization trials to melt process the polymer fibers, this project will demonstrate the ability of these materials to fill the void of easily processible, tailorable hydrophobic/hydrophilic fiber materials that are suitable for use in the $12.5 billion/year membrane market, specifically for fuel filter membranes. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project includes initial applications in the membrane and filtration industry. Other applications expected in the field of medicine and biology are scaffolds for cell culture, tissue engineering, and drug delivery platform. Mechanically robust, highly oriented fibrous systems can also be used for clothing and packaging. Novel nanofiber fabrication approach will create a scalable process, which has a potential to create jobs in the United States. Because it is a solvent-free process, this technology is environmentally friendly and, therefore, will reduce carbon footprint and product cost. This program will also contribute to the education of engineering college students through the extensive use of co-op conducting research. The students will be hired from universities for varied duration of 4 to 12 months for this project. In addition, this STTR program also offers a unique opportunity to graduate students from area Universities to work with R & D companies and earn valuable experience. This strongly supports the NSF mission of developing the U.S. science and engineering workforce.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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