KU School of Engineering

Mark B. Shiflett is a Distinguished Foundation Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas. Professor Shiflett has a joint appointment in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis. Professor Shiflett recently joined the University of Kansas as the final Foundation Professor in August 2016.

The Shiflett Research Group is sponsored and housed within the University of Kansas School of Engineering within the department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering.

About Us

Our mission is to educate students how to invent new products and develop new processes which are energy-efficient, sustainable, economical and safe for humans and the environment.

Novel Processes

Our group has the expertise and the equipment to perform a variety of separations and reaction chemistries.  We have a state-of-the-art gravimetric microbalance laboratory which provides us with the unique capability to study the sorption and diffusion of gases and vapors into liquids and solids over a broad range of temperature (-196 °C to 1000 °C) and pressure (vacuum to 170 bar).  We have a pressure-swing adsorption system with 4 beds which can operate at pressures up to 70 bar.  We have a suite of analytical equipment including gas and ion chromatographs, liquid chromatographs and mass spectrometers which can be combined with batch, semi-batch and continuous flow reactors for studying a variety of chemistries.  We have membrane modules for measuring pure gas permeance and the selectivity of mixed gas systems.


Advanced Materials

Our laboratory specializes in the synthesis, characterization and application of advanced materials.  We have an extensive library of over 3000 materials composed of zeolites, ionic liquids, carbons and ion-exchange resins.  These materials are being evaluated for a variety of applications including gas and liquid separations, catalysis, desalination and water purification, interactions with biological systems and extraction of biobased chemicals from renewable feedstocks.   Our goal is to develop new materials with unique properties which can solve relevant problems for our society.


Industrial Research

We actively seek out and partner with chemical companies to develop new commercial products and processes.   Companies can sponsor proprietary projects and take advantage of KU’s world-class research facilities.  We offer a variety of project options.  Discovery projects are short-term (3 to 6 month) proof-of-concept programs.  Innovation projects are typically a year to multi-year programs which involve graduate students and post-graduate researchers.  We offer a service laboratory which is available for sample analysis.  Companies can save time and money by contracting measurements and projects with our laboratory.  We understand that Intellectual Property (IP) issues are often a barrier to industry-academia collaborations; therefore, we work with the University of Kansas Innovation and Collaboration team to create unique IP arrangements that benefit both the sponsor and KU.  If you are interested in sponsoring a project or contract testing services, please contact Dr. Mark B. Shiflett.

Meet Our Group


Postdoctoral Researchers

William J.R. Gilbert, ph.D.
KU Profile
gilbert_7@yahoo.com
linkedin

William (Bill) Gilbert is currently a post-doctoral research assistant in Mark Shiflett’s laboratory. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in 2016. While pursuing a Ph.D., Bill received the Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellowship and was a School of Engineering Graduate Ambassador. His graduate research focused on the development of a novel enzymatic method for degrading polyacrylamide polymer used in slickwater fracturing. Bill received a B.S. in environmental science from Haskell Indian Nations University and was named the American Indian Higher Education Consortium Student of the Year and the Midwestern Collegiate Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year. His collegiate work was interrupted in from 2003-2005 when he was deployed to Tikrit, Iraq, through the U.S. Army Reserve. Bill also participated in the Haskell/KU Bridge program and Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program where he conducted cardiopulmonary physiology and polymer thermodynamics research.

dave-minnickDavid L. Minnick, ph.d.
KU Profile
davidminnick@ku.edu
Linkedin

Dave Minnick conducted his graduate work at the University of Kansas in the department of chemical and petroleum engineering from 2011-2016 as a Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellow. The core of Minnick’s doctoral research was dedicated to leveraging ionic liquid solvent technology for the development of improved cellulosic biomass processing routes. After completing his Ph.D. with honors in 2016, Minnick was hired as a short-term post-doctoral research associate to investigate a proprietary chemical reaction for the Chevron Phillips Chemical Company as part of a joint project between the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis and Chevron Phillips. Today, Minnick looks forward to continuing industrial-academic collaborative research efforts as a post-doctoral research associate in Mark B. Shiflett’s laboratory.


Graduate Students

ambassadorslinkedinAlejandra Rocha
KU Profile
alejandra.rocha@ku.edu
Linkedin

Alejandra received her chemical engineering bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Kansas in 2014. After graduating, she worked in the process engineering industry running dynamic state simulations. After two years of industry experience, Alejandra returned to KU to pursue her Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering. She is currently investigating fluorocarbons as clathrate formers for an economic alternative to water desalination. Her career interests involve the design and development of alternative energy.

tugba-turnaoglu_2Tugba Turnaoglu
KU Profile
turnaoglu@ku.edu
linkedIn

Tugba received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Ankara University in Turkey and her master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. She has been a PhD student at KU since Spring 2014. During the first three years of her degree, she worked on low salinity waterflooding on carbonate reservoirs. She is currently working on ammonia absorption in ionic liquids. Her current research interests are ionic liquids, heating cooling cycles, vapor liquid equilibria, zeolites, nanofluids, surfactants and surface phenomena. As she is very enthusiastic about research, she hopes to pursue a career in research, be it in industry or academia. She also enjoy teaching and spreading scientific knowledge.

Nicholas RedingNicholas Reding 
KU PROFILE

n221r069@ku.edu
LINKEDIN

Nicholas Reding received his Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas in 2016. Following graduation with his undergraduate degree, Nicholas currently works in the field of explosion protection, designing protection solutions for a wide range of applications. After a year of industry experience, he decided to return to KU to pursue a master’s degree in chemical engineering. His research interests include process safety, combustion science, and explosion protection (more specifically, suppression and isolation of non-standard deflagrations). Under the guidance of Dr. Shiflett, Nicholas is currently working on a study that illustrates the effectiveness of various inhibitors for the suppression of highly reactive metal dust deflagrations. Working in collaboration with Fike Corporation, his primary focus is to characterize the ability of various agents to absorb heat and limit the maximum pressure rise during contained combustion. Upon graduation, Nicholas plans to explore additional research studies with continued attention towards industry-related projects.


Senior Scientists

David R. Corbin, Ph.D.
David.R.Corbin@ku.edu

Dr. Corbin is an adjunct senior research scientist with 32 years of industrial research experience. He has issued 62 US patents and has published more than 130 publications, in addition to co-editing two books on porous materials. His research interests include applications of inorganic materials to industrial problems, zeolites, separations, and metal oxides.

Mark A. Harmer, Ph.D.
markharmer@ku.edu
www.harmergreenchem.com

Dr. Harmer is currently working at Sustainable Chemistry Consulting in Landenberg, PA. He has 32 years of industrial experience with several commercial products, 73 patents, and 81 publications. He is also a member of the board J. Green Chemistry, and is a NSF and DOE grant reviewer and Strategy Consultant. He is primarily interested in acid catalysis, ionic liquid applications, and biobased adhesives.

Scott C. Jackson, Ph.D.
scott.c.jackson@ku.edu

Dr. Jackson is an adjunct senior research scientist at KU and an adjunct professor at Villanova University. Previously, he was a DuPont Senior Technical Fellow with 33 years of industrial research experience. In addition to his 41 US patents and 28 publications and presentations, he is also a recipient of the Engineering Excellence Award for the development of Extractive Distillation technology. His primary area of research interest includes fluid phase thermodynamics of biphasic systems and scale ups of liquid-liquid extraction systems.


Undergraduate Students

Katie Bauguess
kathrynbauguess@ku.edu

Katie is currently a senior pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. In our lab, she is working on a zeolite project with Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, Dr. David Corbin and Professor Cory Berkland. She is researching several zeolite structures and their ability to bind with metals with a specific focus on iron.

Brooks Danahy
b911d898@ku.edu

Brooks is currently a senior studying chemical engineering at KU. In the Shiflett research group he is assisting Dr. David Minnick with a project investigating gas sorption in ionic liquids. In his free time, Brooks also enjoys being a coordinator for Camp Kesem, a free summer camp for children affected by parental cancer.

Maddie Lyda
madddielyda@ku.edu

Maddie is a senior studying Chemical Engineering with a focus in biomedical engineering. In the lab, she is currently working on studying gas chromatography and various separation techniques. In her free time, she enjoys being involved in the Society of Women Engineers and the director of EXPO committee and community service for AIChE.

Sally Ritchie
sallygrace1@ku.edu

Sally Ritchie is a senior studying chemical engineering here at KU. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, she works on researching solubility of ammonia in ionic liquids with Tugba Turnaoglu, which has applications in absorption refrigeration cycles.

Michael Shao
michael.shao13524@gmail.com

Michael is a sophomore studying chemical engineering and economics. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, he works with Alejandra Rocha studying desalination using clathrate hydrates and also assists Dr. Shiflett in creating ASPEN Plus guides. In his free time, Michael serves as an Engineering Senator for Student Senate, a Music Mentors Coordinator for the Center for Community Outreach, and a member of the Student Senate Finance Committee. 

Simon Velasquez Morales
svelasmor@gmail.com

Simon is currently a senior in chemical engineering at KU. He is finishing his undergraduate program this summer, and will be returning to KU for his Ph.D program in chemical and petroleum engineering. In his free time, he enjoyed partaking in the Chem-E-Car competition at the University of Tulsa where the team won for most creative design.

sofiaSofía de la O
sofia.delao@ku.edu

Sofia is a senior pursuing a degree in chemical engineering with a concentration in pre-medicine. She is currently working on a zeolite project with Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, Dr. David Corbin and Professor Cory Berkland. Sofia is studying several zeolite structures and their ability to bind iron.  The end goal is to develop a drug to treat hemochromatosis.  In her free time, Sofia enjoys the outdoors, staying active, and serving the community.  In addition, Sofia has a passion for mentoring younger students and helping increase minority representation in STEM.

DSC_1351Austin Keller
austin.keller@ku.edu

Austin is a Junior studying Chemical Engineering and Mathematics at KU. He is currently investigating electric field assisted CO2 desorption from ionic liquids with Dr. Gilbert. In his free time, Austin is a musician and avid sports fan—playing trumpet in the Marching Jayhawks as well as the KU Volleyball band for 2 seasons.

barr2Kaylee Barr
kbarr@ku.edu

Kaylee is a sophomore pursuing a degree in chemical engineering at KU. In Dr. Shiflett’s lab, she is studying the thermal stability of vaccines and how to use encapsulation to prevent denaturation of the proteins in vaccines during transport. At KU, she is involved in SWE, AIChE, and is one of the large event chairs for Chem Club. In her free time, she enjoys going on a run and teaching chemistry to children at Chem Club demonstrations.

dsc_1312-e1500587908941.jpgGrant Romme 
g161r633@ku.edu

Grant is currently a senior studying chemical engineering. He is researching the iron binding capabilities of zeolites and several other structures. He is researching this project with Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, Dr. David Corbin, Professor Cory Berkland, Katie Bauguess, and Sofia de la O.

 skylar-pratt-e1504122784625.jpgSkylar Pratt
skylarpratt@ku.edu

Skylar is currently a junior studying chemical engineering at KU. He is working with Dr. Gilbert to freeze-dry corn byproduct from ethanol production to eliminate all the remaining liquids. In his free time, Skylar enjoys playing sports and spending time with friends outdoors.

Grant Johnson
g448j563@ku.edu

Grant is currently a sophomore studying chemical engineering at KU. He is part of the valuable metal recovery group targeting the recycle of lithium and cobalt from mixed metal oxide batteries. Grant is working with Zakk Roy, Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. David Minnick, and Dr. David Corbin. In his free time, he plays water polo on the KU club team and is a member of Sigma Pi.

Zakk Roy
zakkroy@ku.edu

Zakk Roy is a senior chemical engineering student at the University of Kansas. He is working with Dr. Mark Shiflett, Dr. David Corbin, and Dr. David Minnick on a project to recycle cathode materials from spent lithium-ion batteries. Outside of class, he spends time being involved with the school by serving on Engineering Student Council.

Elizabeth Hyde (Spring 2017)
elizabethhyde@ku.edu

Elizabeth, a junior pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering with a focus in environmental engineering. She worked on the creation and development of the Shiflett Research website and assisted Alejandra Rocha with a techno-economic evaluation of a process of desalination using clathrate hydrates. Libby will be joining the Shiflett group again in Spring 2018.

 


Previous Students

Yadira Chavez-Arambula (Spring 2017)
yadira_chavez09@yahoo.com

Yadira graduated with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering with a Geology minor. She contributed to the Shiflett lab by setting up and calibrating gas chromatographs with flame ionization (FID) and thermal conductivity (TCD) detectors. Additionally, Yadira created a design concept with KU logos and inspiring quotes to foster a culture of creativity and energy within the lab.

dylanDylan Flohrschutz (Summer 2017)
dylan.flohrschutz@ku.edu

Dylan is currently pursuing a degree in chemical engineering at KU. He worked with Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, and Dr. David Corbin on a project that aims to investigate the ability of several hydrotalcites at removing sulfites from wine. In his free time, Dylan enjoys volunteering for the KU Biodiesel Initiative, spending time outdoors, and serving as vice-president of KU Math Club.

dsc_1331-e1500588515470.jpgDavid  Moeder (summer 2017)
d048m218@ku.edu

David is currently a senior studying chemical engineering at KU. He was part of the sulfite removal group alongside Dylan Flohrshutz, Professor Mark Shiflett, Dr. Bill Gilbert, and Dr. David Corbin. The group manipulated different techniques to measure sulfites in wine, along with discovering optimal materials to remove these sulfites. David is a member of AIChE and enjoys spending his free time outdoors.


Visiting Teachers

Summer 2017

bio pic
Patrick Cannon
patrickdcannon@gmail.com

Patrick Cannon graduated from Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island in 2013 with a B.A. in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management. Previously, he worked for Hyatt Hotels in both San Antonio and Denver as a Sous Chef. Patrick joined the Teach for America Corps in 2016 and has been placed in Oklahoma City working at Oklahoma Centennial Mid-High School where he teaches 7th and 8th Grade Science, Anatomy, and Mathematics. Patrick has joined the Shiflett Lab through the CEBC’s Research Experience for Teacher program. Patrick’s main areas of interest are zeolites and their potential uses as well as how the methodology of research in the Shiflett Lab can be translated into lesson for the 7th-12th Grade Science classroom.

shellyShelly Robinson
srobinson@usd434.us

Shelly is a participant in the Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program whose goal is to expose and engage high school science teachers to the exciting research being done at the University of Kansas and take this back to their classroom. Shelly earned her BS in Biology from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas and a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Saint Mary University in Leavenworth, Kansas. Shelly has 28 years of experience in the field of education with 25 of that in her current position with Santa Fe Trail High school where she teaches Biology, Earth & and Space Science and Energy Science. In her first year in the RET program Shelly worked under Dr. Susan Williams and researched the runoff potential of Hydroxyapatite which is a byproduct of the algal hydrothermal liquefaction process used to produce renewable biodiesel. As a second year RET participant Shelly is excited to work with Dr. Shiflett’s staff and to learn how sulfite and iron absorption can be implemented in her high school classroom.

News & Events

Congrats Bill!

Congratulations to Dr. Bill Gilbert who accepted an offer of employment from the Chemours Chemical Company. Bill will be working at the Chemours TiO2 facility in New Johnsonville, Tennessee. He will start in June 2018.

-Published on: 12/2/17


Wine Science

Shiflett lab is on the news again! Check out the KU article featuring undergraduate Maddie Lyda, Dr. Bill Gilbert, and Dr. Mark Shiflett on researching sulfite removal from wine. Our group hopes to develop and market an inexpensive device which can remove 99% of sulfites from wine.

Maddie Lyda samples wine using a total sulfur analyzer. Photo courtesy of KU.

-Published on: 11/29/17


Part of a Great Network

Dr. Mark Shiflett recently completed a news story on ionic liquid solubilities with AZO Network, a system focused on “Telling science, technology and medical stories to people who can make a difference.” In the piece, Dr. Shiflett discusses the different applications of ionic liquids and describes the importance in measuring gas solubilities.
Check it out here!
-Published on: 11/25/17


AIChE Annual Conference Successes!

Our group is very grateful to have presented at the 2017 AIChE Annual Conference. We had over 8 talks and posters representing the Shiflett group. Congrats to Brooks Danahy for earning an award on his poster at the undergraduate session!
And, the AIChE hospitality suite was a success! We look forward to seeing you again next year!

-Published on: 11/12/17


KU Chemical & Petroleum Engineering Hospitality Suite

Will you be at the annual AIChE conference in Minneapolis this year? Join us at our hospitality suite and learn about our novel research and cutting-edge facilities!

When: 7:30PM-9:30PM on Sunday, October 29th
Where: Duluth Room, Hilton Minneapolis, 3rd floor near escalators

We look forward to meeting you!

-Published on: 10/05/17


On the Cover!

The book Ionic liquids: Current State and Future Directions edited by Dr. Scurto and Dr. Shiflett, was published recently. And of course, the book (bottom left image) displayed their KU pride with crimson and blue on the cover! In addition, Dr. Shiflett wrote a perspective article in the November issue of the AIChE Journal, and it is featured on the cover (bottom right image).

-Published on: 9/26/17


Presence Abroad!

Dr. Mark Shiflett was invited to present a keynote lecture at the European Conference on Thermophysical Properties in Graz, Austria. He recently traveled to Graz, and presented his a talk “Ionic Liquids – Phase Behavior to Applications” on the morning of Tuesday September 5th.

Later that week, Dr. Shiflett also had the opportunity to visit the Hiden Isochema Ltd. headquarters in Warrington, UK to celebrate 15 years of successful collaboration. Dr. Mark Roper, Director of Sales and Marketing at Hiden, met with Dr. Shiflett and provided a tour of Hiden’s advanced instrumentation.

-Published on: 09/16/17


Future Conferences

We are excited to have our graduate students and postdoctoral researchers presenting at two upcoming conferences. Tugba, Alejandra, Bill, and Dave will be presenting posters at the upcoming 2017 ACS Midwest Regional Meeting – Catalysis Symposium at KU on October 19th, and oral presentations at the 2017 AIChE Annual Meeting in Minneapolis on October 29th – November 2nd. Be sure to stop by if you are attending the conferences!

Details below:

2017 ACS Midwest Regional Meeting
Tugba Turnaoglu:
Vapor-Liquid Equilibria:Ammonia and 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide
Friday October 20th, 12:30PM-2:30PM

Alejandra Rocha:
Clathrate Hydrate Formation Using Fluorocarbons
Friday October 20th, 12:30PM-2:30PM

Bill Gilbert:
Safety Considerations when Designing a New Chemical Engineering Research Laboratory
Friday October 20th, 8:00AM-10:00AM

Dave Minnick:
Solubility of vinyl fluoride in aqueous lithium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide solutions
Friday October 20th, 12:30PM-2:30PM

2017 AIChE Annual Meeting (at the Minneapolis Convention Center)
Tugba Turnaoglu:
-Ammonia Absorption in Ionic Liquids
Wednesday November 1st, 9:42 AM – 9:59 AM, Room 103B

Alejandra Rocha:
-Clathrate Hydrate Formation Using Fluorocarbons
Tuesday October 31st, 8:51 AM – 9:08 AM, Room L100I

-Water Sorption in Ionic Liquids Characterized Using a Dynamic Vapor Sorption Analyzer (IGASorp) and High Pressure X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (APXPS)
Thursday, November 2nd, 4:00 PM – 04:15 PM, Room M100B

Bill Gilbert:

-Safety Considerations When Designing a New Chemical Engineering Research Laboratory
Monday October 30th, 1:42 PM – 2:00 PM, Room 205C

-Desorption of Gases from Ionic Liquids Using an Applied Electric Field
Tuesday October 31st, 12:30 PM – 12:52 PM, Room 101C

Dave Minnick:

-Measurement and Modeling of Vinyl Fluoride Solubility in Aqueous Lithium Bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)Imide Solutions
Monday October 30th, 12:50 PM – 01:10 PM, Room M100C

-Phase Behavior of Compressed Gases in Ionic Liquids at the Liquid-Solid Transition Point
Tuesday October 31st, 04:12 PM – 04:31 PM, Room L100J


Shiflett Lab Group Hosts Open House

Shiflett lab group hosted an open lab afternoon on April 28. The event featured undergraduate research presentations on their different projects from this semester. Dr. Shiflett and our post doctorate researchers also gave visitors tours of the lab space.


New Kinetics Experiment for Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Laboratory

Dr. David Griffin, Dr. Bill Gilbert and Prof. Mark B. Shiflett
kinetics
Figure 1 – New Kinetics Experiment – Iodination of Acetone – C&PE 616 Chemical Engineering Lab I

A new kinetics experiment was completed and added to the undergraduate chemical engineering teaching laboratory for the Chemical Engineering Laboratory I, C&PE 616.  Students can measure the kinetic orders and activation energy for the iodination of acetone reaction (CH3COCH3  + I2 → CH3COCH2I +  HI) using HCl as a catalyst.

The reaction is a color change reaction so it starts as a colored solution when iodine is added (I2 is red/brown in color) and goes clear as the product iodoacetone is formed (iodoacetone is clear). The experimental setup consists of a 1 liter stirred tank reactor with a cooling/heating jacket controlled with a Peltier temperature bath.  A pump circulates a sample of the reactor fluid through a flow cell in a spectrometer for instantaneous analysis of the iodine concentration as a function of time.  The temperature and absorbance are recorded using a LabView® data acquisition program on a laptop computer.  The waste can be drained to waste containers beneath the reactor and the system is mounted on a moveable rack which allows the experiment to be portable.  The setup is identical on both sides of the rack so that students can work in groups of two to run both reactors simultaneously.  The spectrometer measures the absorbance of iodine at a wavelength of 510 nm.  Students use both a linear regression (Initial Rates Method) and a non-linear regression to analyze the kinetics data to determine the orders of reaction and the activation energy.  In addition to the experiments, students model the reaction using Aspen Plus using both batch (RBATCH) and continuous (RCSTR) reactor models. The fact that the experiment is portable allows the equipment to be wheeled into the classroom for demonstration during lectures.  Students taking Chemical Kinetics C&PE 524 will learn how the experiment works, the methods for data analysis and be assigned a homework set based on actually experimental data being measured by the Senior class.  This will connect the lab course with the kinetics course and familiarize the Juniors in C&PE 524 with the kinetics experiment they will do the following semester in the undergraduate laboratory course C&PE 616.  In addition, future experiments can be conducted with other reactants such as bromine and the effect of different catalysts can be studied.

A new thermodynamics experiment is planned for construction during the summer of 2017 and ready for use in C&PE 616 by the Fall semester.  The intent is by the Fall of 2018, that three new experiments focused on kinetics (complete), thermodynamics and fluid mechanics will be ready which connect the theory taught in the core courses with the laboratory course.  The experiments will be portable and allow instructors to describe the experiments in the classroom and build homework sets based on data measured by students to familiarize Juniors with the Senior laboratory equipment and analysis methods.

-Published on: 03/03/17