Chemical Engineering PhD student, David Kitto recently traveled to Chiba, Japan for the 13th International Congress on Membranes and Membrane Processes (ICOM) where he received the World Association of Membrane Societies (WA-MS) Oral Presentation Award.
Kitto, a member of the Kamcev Lab, won the award for his presentation titled “Development of Ion-Exchange Membranes with Ultrahigh Charge Density”, which was a compilation of his research findings involving ion-exchange membranes (IEMs).
“It was wonderful to meet scientists who can’t make it to conferences just held for audiences in the U.S.” Kitto said. “Discussing my work with such a diverse group of professors and students made me feel proud to be representing our young lab on the international stage.”
Kitto’s research focuses on unique preparation strategies for membranes that can result in extremely high charge densities, which can lead to fast ion conduction for more efficient use in various electrochemical processes such as water desalination and hydrogen production. The charge densities Kitto and his group utilize have yielded the most conductive membrane they are aware of currently. Their research also demonstrates strategies that can be used to tune other membranes.
“When they honored me with this award, I really just felt amazed at how membrane experts from all over the world were getting excited about these ideas I’ve been pushing along – and I was happy to share the excitement with them,” Kitto said.
Around 100 student oral presentations were given at ICOM this year, allowing attendees to learn about membranes and membrane processes research from a diverse group of students. Only the top 5% of students received the WA-MS Oral Presentation Award.
ICOM began in 1984 in Stresa, Italy as the First Congress on Membranes and Membrane Processes. It was co-organized by the Membrane Society of Japan (MSJ) and the European Society of Membrane Science and Technology (now called European Membrane Society). After the North American Membrane Society (NAMS) was founded, the first ICOM conference was scheduled for June 8-12, 1987 in Akasaka, Tokyo. After the foundation of the Aseanian Membrane Society (AMS), ICOM has been held every three years, rotated in order of Asia, North America and Europe.
The Kamcev Lab focuses on developing high-performance polymeric materials, like membranes and adsorbents, for many different applications such as water treatment and energy generation and storage. Led by Jovan Kamcev, an assistant professor in Chemical Engineering and Macromolecular Science & Engineering, the lab is particularly interested in the fundamentals of small molecule transport in polymeric materials and understanding the relationship between polymer structure and properties.