University of Tennessee
Materials Science & Engineering Department
Summer Research Spotlights Stars from the Harper-Keffer Research Group
Knoxville, TN & Oak Ridge, TN, Summer, 2023
MSE junior, Jakob Scroggins, spent the summer participating in the Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program run by the United States Department of Energy. He performed research with mentor Dr. Yaocai Bai and Dr. Lu Yu (UTK MSE alumna!) in the Battery Manufacturing Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a project titled, "A Water-Based Method for Direct Recycling of Lithium-Ion Battery Anode Scraps". While there, he worked on the development of a novel, versatile and water-based method for delaminating anode films from copper current collectors that takes advantage of the chemical properties of a surfactant and a salt. As part of the team, he then demonstrated the reprocessing of the delaminated films into new anodes for physical, chemical and electrochemical characterization. The robust and industrially scalable method for anode-scrap recovery allows battery manufacturers to recycle quality-control-rejected anodes quickly and effectively, minimizing waste and maximizing profit. Of his experience, Jakob says, "During my SULI, I got the chance to participate in a novel and complete investigation-from materials selection to characterization and performance analysis."
MSE senior, Emmaline Howard, spent the summer participating in the Student Mentoring and Research Training (SMaRT) Summer Internship program through the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute (UT-ORII). She performed research with Professor David Harper at the Center for Renewable Carbon in the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture for a project titled, "Exploration of Additives for Improving Recycling of a Paper composite". By 2040, automobile Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) predict net-zero carbon emissions. With the replacement of combustion engines, it is predicted that the CO2 footprint of materials will increase to 60% of the total car lifecycle footprint. This research is part of a larger effort by Volkswagen to develop a fully recyclable paper fiber composite to replace current plastic components. Of her experience, Emmaline says, "I have now worked over three years with Dr. Harper and this was my favorite project to work on. I got to lead my own work and have mentors guiding me. This was a great opportunity that makes me seriously think about graduate school."
MSE senior, Michael Broud, spent the summer participating in the Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program run by the United States Department of Energy. He performed research with mentor Dr. Yuanpeng Zhang at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) in Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a project titled, "A Web-based Experimental Planning Platform for Powder Diffraction". While there, he made improvements and additions to the advanced diffraction environment (ADDIE) web interface. ADDIE is a tool used for experimental planning and analysis for powder diffraction by users at the SNS and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). Of his experience, Michael says, "I learned about neutron total scattering and improved a tool that users will continue to use for their experiments." Michael is pictured at his poster with another member of Dr. Yuanpeng Zhang's group, Dr. Dayton Kizzire (a UTK MSE alum!).
More photos on the Keffer research group site.