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College of Engineering

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September 10, 2019 | 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Category: Seminar
Location: Danto Engineering Development Center | Map
5050 Anthony Wayne
Detroit, MI 48202
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Alumni, Community, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty, Staff

Norman Li, M.S. ’57, is an internationally renowned scientist who has more than 40 years’ experience in American chemical and petroleum industries. He was a senior scientist with Exxon Research and Engineering Co. and the director of research at UOP Co. and Honeywell. He also served as a consultant for the U.S. Apollo Moon Landing Project. In 1995, he founded NL Chemical Technology, Inc., a company focused on the development of membrane technologies for water treatment. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. Li is an award-winning researcher with 45 U.S. patents and more than 100 technical papers, and has edited 20 books, all in the field of separation science and technology. He was inducted into the Wayne State University College of Engineering Hall of Fame in 1989.

TOPIC: Advanced Membrane Technology for Water Treatment

The provision of clean drinking water, the treatment and reuse of waste water, the desalination of sea water and the efficient recycling of streams and intermediates in chemical manufacturing processes are among the most pressing challenges facing the world today. Membrane technology offers one of the most important responses to these challenges, with an astonishing rate of growth.

The major efforts of present industrial research and development of advanced membrane technology are focused on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the polymeric membranes. This presentation will first review the history of the development of industrial membranes and their manufacturing processes. It will then focus on Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration membranes. Their special features of anti-fouling, low-energy consumption and high selectivity for certain minerals will be discussed.

On the membrane manufacturing process, our experience of developing laboratory research results through scale-up study to commercial processes will be described. The Future directions of the industrial R&D in this field will also be discussed.


About the BASF Distinguished Lecture Series

The Wayne State University Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science is welcoming five members of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering during the 2019-20 academic year to stimulate idea-focused conversations about emerging growth areas such as such as membrane technology, chemical process and control, polymers and rheology, performance materials and connected plants, and catalysis. This partnership between Wayne State and BASF — the largest chemical producer in the world, with a footprint in more than 80 countries — is intended to create another pathway to connect students with professional leaders and to enhance interaction among industry experts.

For more information about this event, please contact Guangzhao Mao at 313-577-3804 or