Faculty Advisor

Peterson, Amy M.

Faculty Advisor

Timko, Michael T.


One of the hindrances to biofuel plants is fouling of detoxification membranes. This project aimed to develop a protocol for studying the fouling using Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation Monitoring, and to acquire preliminary data studying the relationship between hydrophobicity and fouling while controlling roughness. Three polymers were studied: polydimethylsiloxane, polyamide, and polyether sulfone using a model cellulose hydrolysate. The polymers acquired between 737 and 2010 ng/cm2 of mass during a 10 hour exposure. Mass accumulated rapidly on the polymer membrane during the initial 30 min of exposure time, followed by a sustained gradual increase. The experimental data showed a potential relationship between hydrophobicity and fouling, though increased data are required.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2015


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering