Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.M.E.

Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Delcie Durham, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Sylvia Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sylvia Thomas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alex A. Volinsky, Ph.D.

Keywords

Electrospinning, Exergy, LCA, Nanofibers, PVDF, Sustainability

Abstract

Assessing the sustainability of nanomanufacturing products and processes has been difficult to achieve using conventional approaches mainly due to an inadequate inventory, large process-to-process variation, and a dearth of relevant toxicology data for nanomaterials. Since these issues are long term in nature, it is required to create hybrid methodologies that can work towards filling the existing gaps. Merging thermodynamic techniques such as the exergy analysis with environmental assessments can help make better, more informed choices while providing an opportunity for process improvement by enabling to correctly quantify efficiency loss through the waste stream, and by locating the exact areas for improvement. A preliminary technique that utilizes environmental assessment feedback during the process design along with an exergy analysis is presented. As a test case, an environmental assessment aided by an exergy analysis was carried out on the electrospinning process for producing polyvinylidene fluoride nanofibers. The areas of greatest concern, both from an environmental as well as a thermodynamic point of view, have been found to be the high energy consumption and the complete loss of solvent during the process of electrospinning. Interestingly, exergy consumption is significantly higher for fibers with a smaller (

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