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Alumni Spotlight – Steven Gardner, Ph.D.
April 22 @ 4:05 pm - 5:00 pm
The Next Generation of PTFE Membranes: Finer, Faster and Cleaner
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is among the most inert polymers and finds important applications in microelectronics and medical devices. Yet it is the coveted inertness of PTFE that renders its processing formidable at best. In contrast to most polymers that can be melt-processed, the manufacture of PTFE products has evolved using a process reminiscent of powder metallurgy. Pall Corporation is a global leader in the manufacture of PTFE membranes and a key supplier to the semiconductor industry where the demand for cleaner processing has pushed the tolerance level of many metals and ions into the parts-per-trillion domain. It is an enormous challenge to meet the increasing retention requirements while also providing acceptable throughput or pressure drop. There is also a concomitant demand to identify suitable metrologies to characterize these next-generation, ultra fine PTFE membranes. In his presentation, Steven will discuss PTFE processing in the context of manufacturing PTFE membranes. He will highlight areas where existing technology is being challenged to keep pace with the ever-increasing demands on PTFE membrane performance. Steven will also share his insight into the
Steven Gardner received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Florida in 1990. Immediately afterwards he joined the chemical engineering faculty at Mississippi State University. His research interests are chemical phenomena at surfaces and interfaces including, in particular, adhesion, chemisorption and heterogeneous catalysis. While at MSU, Steven was primarily engaged in the engineering and characterization of interphases in composite materials. He received grants from the NSF, EPA and ARPA to create a state-of-the-art surface characterization laboratory featuring XPS, Auger and ISS solid-state analytical techniques to support his research. In 1999, Steven resigned his tenured faculty position to acquire industrial experience. During the ensuing twelve years, he held positions as senior process engineer and R&D scientist with International Flavors & Fragrances, LyondellBasell and Vistakon. Since 2011, Steven has been a Principal R&D Engineer with Pall Corporation at their membrane technology campus in Pensacola, FL. In this role, he is developing the next-generation of PTFE membranes for microelectronics and biopharmapplications, as well as the metrology required for membrane characterization as the pore dimensions approach those of molecular bonds. Steven is the author of forty refereed articles in mainstream science journals, over fifty conference presentations, as well as numerous invention disclosures that remain industrial trade secrets.