Jovan Kamcev Wins Graduate Student Paper of the Year

Jovan Kamcev Wins Paper of the Year

Head shot of graduate student Jovan Kamcev, Paper of the Year award winnerJovan Kamcev has been awarded the Graduate Student Paper of the Year Award and the Marion Johnson South Texas Section Society of Plastics Engineers Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Chemical Engineering worth $4,000, for his paper entitled “Partitioning of mobile ions between ion exchange polymers and aqueous salt solutions: Importance of counter-ion condensation” published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics in January 2016.

Kamcev’s study addresses a longstanding problem in his field – the need for a theoretical framework to predict ion sorption and transport in charged membranes. Charged membranes play a key role in water purification and energy generation applications such as electrodialysis, fuel cells, batteries, etc. Using established ideas from the field of dilute polyelectrolytes, Kamcev and his team have developed a model to accurately predict ion partitioning between a charged membrane and an aqueous salt solution without adjustable parameters. This approach requires knowledge of basic membrane properties such as chemical structure, concentration of fixed charge groups, and water content.

Kamcev’s paper is the foundation for his research program, aimed at developing a molecular understanding of how altering the polymer structure (chemical or physical) affects water and ion transport properties in such materials. Once he and his team develop a better understanding of this issue, high performance membranes can be designed in a rational way. This could lead to major improvements in technologies aimed at addressing the most pressing challenge facing our society – obtaining sustainable supplies of energy and water for future generations.

“Winning this award means a great deal to me, considering the amazing and diverse research that goes on in our department,” Kamcev said. “It is truly an honor to be selected for this award. I want to express my deepest gratitude to my co-authors, as well as the rest of our laboratory, for their assistance with this study.”

This recognition is one of many in a series of successes for Kamcev. Recently, Kamcev was also awarded first place at the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Graduate Student Award Symposium, second place at the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Membranes: Materials & Processes, and the 2016 AIChE Separations Division Graduate Student Award.

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