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UT Researcher Wins Tess Coating Award

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

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A University of Texas researcher in membrane materials science and technology will receive the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings for 2012.

 Dr. Benny D. Freeman was awarded the 2012 Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings from the ACS
Dr. Benny Freeman is being honored for his contributions to polymer and coatings material science and technology applied to membranes.

 Dr. Benny D. Freeman, of UT Austin’s Department of Chemical Engineering, will receive the award from the society’s Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE).

The honor “recognizes the significant fundamental and practical contributions that Dr. Benny Freeman has made over the last 23 years in the area of polymer and coatings material science and technology applied to membranes,” said Dr. Theodore Provder, of Polymer & Coatings Consultants, LLC, who heads the award committee.

Coating Research Focus

Freeman’s research involves polymer and coating materials for membranes. His work focuses on controlling the mass transport of small molecules in polymer coatings for a range of applications.

He and his students and colleagues have studied structure/property relations for polymer-based desalination, as well as gas and vapor separation membrane coating materials, new polymer membrane materials for hydrogen separation and natural gas purification, polymer-based barrier packaging materials, and new polymer coatings for improving fouling resistance of liquid separation membranes.

Fundamental discoveries from Freeman’s laboratory have been commercialized.

“His work focuses on many of the significant challenges of our time in terms of practical applications, such as providing clean water in a more cost-effective and reliable way and developing energy-efficient gas separation membrane coatings, based on polymers, for carbon capture and a wide range of other separations,” said Provder.

‘A Great Honor’

Freeman said, “It is a great honor to join the outstanding group of exceptionally talented scientists and engineers who have been previously recognized by the Tess Award; I am humbled to be included in this group.”

In an email, Freeman explained that gas and liquid separation membranes are used in a wide variety of applications: from separating air into oxygen and nitrogen-rich streams, to removing water from air, to separating hydrogen from other molecules in chemical and petroleum refining, to desalination of water.

“In all of these applications,” Freeman said, “the separation membrane is made from a very thin film coating, on the order of 100 nm thick, of polymers applied to a porous polymer support to form a structure that offers high mechanical strength and durability, high flux, and good separation properties.”

Expertise and Service

Freeman has authored more than 300 papers and publications; presented more than 500 lectures at leading institutions and conferences worldwide; co-edited five books, and is a named inventor on 14 patents or patent applications.

At UT Austin, he is the Kenneth A. Kobe and Paul D. and Betty Robertson Meek and American Petrofina Foundation Centennial Professor of Chemical Engineering.  He also is a member of the Texas Materials Institute and the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources.

Freeman’s professional service includes 2005 chair of PMSE and current service as a Councilor for PMSE; 2005-06 president of the North American Membrane Society; 2004 chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Membranes: Materials and Processes; and immediate past Chair of the Separations Division of AIChE.

His many previous honors include being named an AAAS Fellow in 2012, an ACS and AICHE Fellow in 2011, a PMSE Fellow in 2010, winner of the 2009 ACS Applied Polymer Science Award, and winner of the 2008 AICHE Industrial Gases Technology Award.

Tess Award Presentation

Dr. David Schiraldi, 2012 Chair of the PMSE Division, will present the Tess Award to Freeman on Aug. 20 at the 244th National Meeting of the ACS in Philadelphia, PA. Freeman will present an Award Address at that time

Funded by a grant from Dr. and Mrs. Roy W. Tess, the Tess Award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to coatings science and technology. The award carries a $3,000 cash prize.

The purpose of the award is to encourage interest and progress in coatings science, technology and engineering and to recognize significant contributions to the field.

Recent past recipients of the Tess Award include Dean C. Webster (2011), a veteran researcher in high-performance polymers and non-toxic antifouling coatings; Charles R. Hegedus (2010); and Christian Decker (2009).


Tagged categories: American Chemical Society; Awards and honors; Coatings technology; Conferences; Polymers; Research; Roy W. Tess Award

Comment from Jerry Trevino, (2/8/2012, 8:39 AM)

Go Horns !!! Great things happen here !!

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