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Faculty - Christine Grant

Christine Grant photo
bullet Professor
bullet Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Special Initiatives, College of Engineering

B.S. (Sc.B.) Chemical Engineering, Brown University (1984)
M.S. Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, (1986)
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, (1989)
grant (@ncsu.edu)
919-515-2317 (phone)
919-515-3465 (fax)
Engineering Building I (EB1) - 2088H (office)
& Page Hall
bullet Honors & Awards
bullet Publications

Focus Areas
Biomedical Cell Systems. Mass Transfer. Surface and Environmental Science.

Current Projects
Our research focuses on an evaluation of the mechanisms that control fouling and decontamination processes. The formation and removal of deposits is governed by a combination of chemical and transport processes at the solid-liquid interface, in the bulk liquid and in the film itself. Although general models have been used to describe cleaning and fouling, there is still a lack of understanding of the fundamental mechanisms underlying both the physical and chemical aspects of these processes. Insight into both the initial stages of fouling and the removal of trace residues is necessary to develop environmentally benign cleaning technologies in the chemical, food, and electronics industries.

While the study of highly ordered films (e.g., Langmuir-Blodgett films) provides information on film behavior at the molecular level, most contaminant films are heterogeneous in nature, containing polar and non-polar species, with a wide range of surface thicknesses and morphologies. The challenge is to utilize specialized analytical techniques to assess the deposition and removal of these complex films.

In contrast to discontinuous studies, our research utilizes several techniques (e.g., total internal reflection fluorescence, solid scintillation and a quartz crystal microbalance) to non-invasively probe the interactive effects of hydrodynamics, temperature and film structure on deposition and removal of organic and inorganic films from glass and stainless steel surfaces. Examples of our work in three industrial areas where fouling and cleaning are major problems include: (1) the hydration and removal of organics from glass; (2) the removal of calcium compounds (e.g., CaCO
3,CaPO4) and fouling residues from stainless steel; and (3) the deposition of lubricants in turbines and disk drive assemblies. For example, in aviation turbines, synthetic ester-based lubricants interact with oxygen and metal to form high molecular weight products which deposit on metal surfaces. These films interfere with the efficient circulation of the liquid lubricant and reduce heat transfer. Our group is also investigating the use of additives to reduce lubricant degradation, and deposit-forming tendencies at high temperatures.

We have developed experimental systems that have been instrumental in screening potential new solvent-surfactant systems for cleaning applications. In these systems, the removal of the residues is monitored continuously under controlled external mass-transfer conditions using a rotating disk apparatus. Initial research has demonstrated the effectiveness of non-ionic surfactants in the removal of mixed organic films from solid surfaces. The rate-controlling steps in the cleaning process have been identified as a function of the solution hydrodynamics, the external mass transfer rate, and the surfactant phase present. It is possible that the surfactant solutions used in the cleaning of contaminants may be recycled, minimizing the amount of surfactant required to operate the cleaning system. In a related application, we are investigating the use of CO
2 -soluble surfactants in liquid and supercritical CO2 to clean metal surfaces.

Honors & Awards
bullet 2015 AAAS Mentor Award
bullet 2015 Inaugural Pioneers of Diversity Award - AIChE Minority Affairs Committee
bullet 2013 Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
bullet 2012 American Chemical Society Stanley C. Israel Regional Award
bullet 2011 Winifred Burks-Houck Women's Professional Leadership Award from the National Organization of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)
bullet 2010 Inducted into Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
bullet 2009 Minority Affairs Committee Eminent Chemical Engineers Award from AIChE
bullet 2009 Council for Chemical Research (CCR) Diversity Award
bullet 2007 National Organization of Black Chemists & Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) Professional Award in Chemical Engineering
bullet 2006 Selected to participate in 12th Annual US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE)
bullet 2005 National Academy of Engineering - CASEE Boeing Senior Fellowship
bullet 2004 National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering (GEM) Distinguished Alumni Academic Award
bullet 2004 Member, Board of Directors, AIChE
bullet 2004 NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM)
bullet 2003 Inducted into Sigma Iota Rho - International Honor Society
bullet 2003 National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering (GEM) Distinguished Alumni Academic Award
bullet 2001 Women of Note Inductee - African American Cultural Center
bullet 2001 AIChE Minority Affairs Committee-National Distinguished Service Award
bullet 2001 NC Council of Women-Nominee in Education Category; Certificate of Achievement
bullet 2001 NCSU Provost African American Professional Development Award
bullet 2000 YMCA Academy of Women Award in Science and Technology
bullet 2000 NCSU Provost's African-American Advocacy Award
bullet 1999 National Technical Association's (NTA)-Top Women in Science and Engineering Award
bullet 1998 Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering (GEM) Alumni Recognition Award
bullet 1996 Elected to the Council of Outstanding Young Engineering Alumni of Georgia Institute of Technology