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Focus Areas

Materials & Environment

Our engineers and scientists conduct applied research in materials science, collaborating with both commercial and government clients to provide technologies and solutions to advance practices in a number of growing markets.

Our engineers and scientists conduct applied research in materials science, collaborating with both commercial and government clients to provide technologies and solutions to advance practices in a number of growing markets. We can perform materials synthesis and formulation, in-use characterization, modeling and simulation of processes, material toxicology and pharmacology, and scale-up for novel materials including nanomaterials, composites, polymers, catalyst and organometallics.

We are developing novel materials and associated systems to provide the technological basis for advancements in construction, air filtration, oil and gas extraction, water purification, drug delivery, and hydrogen production and purification. From nanomaterials integration to polymer processing, we have the expertise and background to incorporate new designs and boost efficiency.

Catalyst and Sorbent Synthesis

For more than two decades, RTI has developed novel supported-metal catalysts, mixed-metal oxide catalysts, zeolites, and metal-organic frame-works (MOFs) to solve challenging, energy-related problems. RTI has assembled the researchers and facilities necessary to maintain a world-class catalyst synthesis program. The flexibility of our resources allows for the synthesis of different types of catalysts and sorbents by various techniques—co-precipitation, impregnation, spray drying, extrusion, and pelletization. RTI has particular expertise in developing highly active and physically strong catalysts—properties that tend to be mutually exclusive during development for fast-fluidize or circulating reactor systems. RTI is also one of the few places worldwide capable of producing MOFs at kilogram scale.

The backbone of RTI’s catalyst synthesis program is a large wet-chemistry laboratory that is fully equipped with laboratory- to pilot-scale equipment for the production and optimization of catalyst formulations. Specialized equipment includes a Niro Mobile Minor spray dryer used for spray drying kilogram batches of catalyst or sorbent materials and a Bonnot extruder for preparing catalyst pellets of many shapes and sizes.

Catalyst and Sorbent Characterization

Catalyst characterization facilitates the rapid optimization of catalyst composition and production process to maximize activity and provide superior physical properties. RTI’s capabilities in catalyst characterization complement our catalyst synthesis program. A wide range of analytical equipment is available, allowing us to effectively evaluate and screen novel catalyst preparations.

Membrane Development

RTI is developing advanced gas separation membranes and membrane-based processes for removing contaminants from industrial process gas streams, including gasification syngas and post-combustion flue gas. RTI has a dedicated team of researchers and state-of-the art lab facilities to carry out the synthesis, characterization, and evaluation of membrane materials and processes, as well as in-house membrane process simulation software for modeling multi-component gas separation processes.

Our membrane permeation testing facilities are well-equipped for determining gas permeances and selectivities of planar and tubular, polymeric and inorganic membrane materials and modules over a wide range of operating conditions and gas environments. RTI’s membrane testing facilities also allow the determination of the long-term effect of realistic gas environments on membrane performance. The range of test conditions include:

Multi-component gas mixtures at high pressures (up to 1,500 psia) and high temperatures (up to 350°C), Toxic and corrosive gases (CO, H2S, CO2, SO2, etc.), and Humidified gas mixtures.

Materials Scale-up and Commercialization

RTI maintains a philosophy of adapting commercial and scalable production practices early in the catalyst, sorbent, or membrane development process. We maintain close relationships with the major commercial catalyst and membrane manufacturers. This approach results in the straightforward and rapid scale-up of a majority of materials developed at RTI.

Polymeric Materials

We specialize in the design and synthesis of novel polymeric materials for a broad range of applications. Polyimides, polysulfones, polyacrylates and epoxies are just some of the high performance systems that have been  custom developed in our labs to target applications that require improved thermal properties, tailored surface wetting, high surface hardness and high Tg/low viscosity infusion thermosets.

Nanocomposites and Thin Films

The development of novel nanocomposites and related filled systems supports research in many other application areas. RTI has the expertise to tailor the design and formulation of materials for projects ranging from small batches to large scale research programs.

Target properties can include, but are not limited to: toughness, moisture resistance, scratch resistance, anti- friction performance, optical properties, and chemical and corrosion resistance.

Biomedical Devices

Materials and device design for biomedical applications such as unique implantable drug delivery platforms for combating infectious disease and addressing women’s health. Involvement at RTI spans from initial concept development to device creation and clinical testing.

Controlled Release Nanomaterials

Nanoparticle-based controlled release systems have been developed for various applications, such as oil and gas exploration and production. Systems are engineered to release agents such as surfactants, anti-scale compounds, fracturing agents, and other materials deep within the oil reservoir within a controlled timeframe. Size and chemistry are tailored to optimize release kinetics, adhesion, and flow properties based on requisite needs.

Sensor Technologies

The encapsulation and protection of microelectronics for sub-surface environments has been enabled through the application of novel thermoset polymer composite systems to the surface of a sensor. RTI formulates encapsulants that are tailored to be application and system specific.