Research Program

CPaSS strives to deliver a comprehensive knowledge of the interplay between particle and surfactant systems that will greatly improve the ‘ad hoc’ approach sometimes found in industry. This is accomplished through a portfolio that includes research projects:

  • High solid content slurries
  • Cell-surface interactions
  • Corrosion inhibition
  • Green surfactants
  • Antiscaling additives
  • Mineral separations

Particulate and surfactant systems are vital to essentially every major industry including:

  • Consumer products
  • Pharmaceutical & health
  • Agriculture & food
  • Oil/Mining/Minerals
  • Specialty chemicals
  • Analytical instrumentation services

The Technology Roadmap is to develop a Center-wide technology theme “Greener Surfactant and Particle Technologies Focus”.

The Research Platform is to advance knowledge and technology by understanding the impact of molecular structure on properties and behavior of:

  1. surfaces (Consumer products; corrosion resistance, antibacterial coatings; controlled release systems; separations), and
  2. suspensions (mineral separation; concentrated suspensions – transport and processing; polishing slurries), and how it creates industry value

The Value Proposition is to articulate value added by center projects to member companies.

‘Greener’ Particulate and Surfactant Systems: The synthesis, characterization and applications of reagents and particulate systems are vital to the industrial community the Center serves. CPaSS faculty, staff and students provide expertise and conduct research projects in the following areas of interest identified by the Center stakeholders:

  • Cosmetics and healthcare products
  • Antimicrobial coatings
  • Corrosion inhibition
  • Dispersion of high solid content slurries
  • Advanced particulate/mineral separations
  • Antiscaling additives
  • Waste minimization, reuse and remediation
  • Toxicity of nanostructures/nanoparticle

A common research platform is the development of structure-property-performance correlations for the design of engineered particulate and surfactant systems for optimal operation in industrial applications. In this regard, it is necessary to first establish the relationship of the particulate and surfactant nanostructures (including functional groups and mode of addition) to their performance. A major research focus is to explore the microstructure and nanostructure of novel individual and mixed particulates and surfactants, and to understand the basis of interactions that control their bulk and interfacial behavior.

We are striving to achieve more industrially driven and intellectually stimulating deliverables required for a viable CPaSS in today’s economy. Our focus continues to be on research projects with potential impact on greener surfactant and particle technologies through pre-competitive research, translation to PhD level research and knowledge transfer and technology outcomes. Part of this strategy includes focusing on the fundamental and applied aspects of personal care and bio-based reagents, green mining and/or minerals, antimicrobial coatings, corrosion inhibition, antiscaling additives, and synergy with biosurfactants.

CPaSS is jointly housed at the University of Florida and Columbia University. The research facilities and laboratories together provide a unique set of equipment and instrumentation necessary to synthesize, characterize and evaluate particulate and surfactant systems on the molecular, microscopic and macroscopic levels.

Techniques are available for physical, mechanical and chemical analysis of particle systems including size, shape, surface area and porosity, surface chemistry, rheology, tribology, interfacial phenomena, powder mechanics, powder flow and segregation. Particulate and surfactant systems are vital to essentially every major industry including: Consumer Products, Pharmaceutical & Health, Agriculture & Food, Oil/Mining/Minerals, Specialty Chemicals and Analytical Instrumentation & Services.  Many industrial applications involve the use of dry or wet particulate systems and natural or synthetic surfactants whose effectiveness depends on the synergistic or competitive interactions with each other. Although much progress has been made over the last few decades in understanding particulate-surfactant systems, their behavior in industrial systems, especially in the emerging fields of nano-bio technologies, remains unexplored due to the lack of tools and expertise to investigate such complex systems. In many cases, technologies are poorly understood and process optimization depends upon expensive and time-consuming trial and error techniques. A comprehensive understanding of the interplay between particles and surfactant systems will greatly improve the ‘ad hoc’ approach sometimes found in industry and will lead to processes and products such as better detergents, faster acting drugs, efficient corrosion inhibition, enhanced anti-bacterial activity, extended release of actives and advanced separation technologies, all with minimal environmental impact.

CPaSS faculty, staff and students are currently conducting, or plan to undertake, research projects in the following areas that have been identified by the Center researchers and industry partners:

  • Cosmetics and Health Care Products
  • Dispersion of Soft and Hard Solids
  • Advanced Particulate/Mineral Separations
  • Filtration and Dewatering of Fines
  • Waste Minimization, Reuse, and Remediation
  • Toxicity of Nanostructures/Nanoparticles
  • Surfactant Structures at Interfaces
  • Green Surfactants and Sustainability
  • Protein based Nano-emulsions
  • Enzyme-Surfactant Interactions