Project Abstract Title: Fabrication of Temperature-sensitive Microcapsules for PFAS-free Fire Fighting Foam Formulations

Aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) containing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acids (PFOS) (a.k.a PFAS) are used in fuel fire extinguishing operations. However, studies have shown that PFAS are detrimental to the environment and persist in the waterways and soil for significantly longer than silicone- and hydrocarbon-based surfactants. Despite many years of research in the military, academia, and industry, a replacement firefighting foam formulation has not been found. The objective of this project is to develop PFAS-free firefighting foam formulations, and this will be accomplished by combining 1) new custom-synthesized silicone surfactants that are formulated based on knowledge of their molecular properties to further lower surface tension with 2) encapsulated foam additives designed to release at specific moments to enhance foam stability while mitigating issues these additives cause. I am looking for a hard-working, motivated student to work on fabricating temperature-sensitive microcapsules and modifying their surface chemistry. The student will learn particle characterization, emulsification, surface and interfacial tension measurements, and optical microscopy. Students with a background in materials science and engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, and mechanical engineering are well-suited to participate in the project. A minimum GPA of 3.3 is required. Contact me at cjmartinez@purdue.edu. Go to: https://martinezsoftmaterials.com

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Carlos Martinez, Associate Professor