Graduate students in the Brigham Young University Chemistry Department are working to develop a filtering device that can be used to separate substances into their constituent parts. The device consists of a monomer and water mixture that is polymerized into a monolith inside of a capillary. The ideal monolith is completely solid with interconnected pores that are small enough to cause the constituent parts to pass through the capillary at different rates, effectively separating the substance. Although the end objective is to minimize pore sizes, it is necessary to first identify an experimental region where any combination of input variables will consistently yield homogeneous monoliths capable of flow. To accomplish this task, an experimental mixture design is used to model the relationship between the variables related to the creation of the monolith and the probability of creating an acceptable polymer. The results of the mixture design suggest that, inside of the constrained experimental region, mixtures with higher proportions of monomer and surfactant, low amounts of initiator and salt, and DEGDA as the monomer have the highest probability of producing a workable monolith. Confirmatory experiments are needed before future experimentation to minimize pore sizes is performed using the refined constrained experimental region determined by the results of this analysis.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Statistics



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Selected Project




optimal design, unreplicated split-plot, generalized linear models, column chromatography