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Joan Brennecke

Joan Brennecke


Phone: 574-631-5847

Office: 180 Fitzpatrick Hall


Ph.D, University of Illinois, 1989

M.S., University of Illinois, 1987

B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Texas, 1984



Ficke, L. E., Rodriguez H. Brennecke J. F. Heat capacities and excess enthalpies of 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium-based ionic liquids and water. JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING DATA, 53:2112-2119, 2008.

Ficke L. E. and Brennecke J. F. Interactions of Ionic Liquids and Water. JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 114:10496-10501, 2010. view abstract

Chapeaux A., Simoni L. D., Ronan T. S., Stadtherr M. A. and Brennecke J. F. Extraction of alcohols from water with 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide. GREEN CHEMISTRY, 10:1301-1306, 2008. view abstract

Muldoon M. J., Aki S. N. V. K. , Anderson J. L., Dixon J.K. , Brennecke J.F. Improving carbon dioxide solubility in ionic liquids. JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 111:9001-9009, 2007.

Summary of Activities/Interests

Joan Brennecke's interests are in the development of environmentally benign solvents and processes. Of particular interest is the use of ionic liquids and carbon dioxide for extractions, separations, and reactions.

Ionic liquids are organic salts that in their pure state are liquids at ambient temperatures. Although ionic liquids are organic solvents, they exhibit vanishingly small vapor pressures. Negligible volatility means that the most prevalent route for escape to the atmosphere and also exposure to workers - evaporation - is absent. Supercritical fluids are compounds that have been heated and pressurized above their critical temperatures and pressures. At conditions near the critical point, the density of the fluid can be varied from a gas-like to liquid-like with small changes in temperature or pressure to mimic a wide variety of solvents. Supercritical CO2 is nontoxic, nonflammable, abundant and inexpensive. Although it is a greenhouse gas, the use of CO2 in processes does not contribute to global warming since CO2 is not produced.

Although water stable ionic liquids are a relatively new class on compounds, it has been shown that they are suitable solvents for a wide variety of industrially important reactions. Professor Brennecke's group has been investigating the phase behavior of ionic liquids and has shown that nonvolatile organic products can be separated from them without resorting to the use of traditional volatile organic solvents, as had been done previously. They have also shown that various gases have vastly different solubilities in ILs so they can be used for performing gas separations, either in a conventional absorber/stripper configuration or by using a supported liquid membrane. The overall goal of this work is to understand how the choice of anion, cation and substituents on the cation affects thermophysical properties and phase behavior. Towards this end, Professor Brennecke's group collaborates extensively with the molecular modeling group of Professor Maginn. Current work focuses on the design and testing of new ionic liquids that possess particularly desirable physical property and phase behavior characteristics, necessary for important separation problems.


Leading globally requires science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)

September 9, 2016

The success of our youth and their ability to become global leaders who are equipped to solve the most pressing challenges of our nation and our world will depend on the skills they learn by studying science, technology, engineering, and math – collectively known as STEM education.1…

Brennecke's Fresh Take on the Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data

May 10, 2016

More than five years ago, Joan F. Brennecke signed on as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data. She had no prior editorial experience, so when she accepted the position she brought with her a fresh perspective.

Engineer Receives $2 Million DOE Energy Grant to Study Capture of Carbon Dioxide

January 5, 2016

Joan Brennecke, the Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is the recipient of a $2 million U.S. Department of Energy grant for research that could fundamentally change the way the country uses and produces energy.

Burns Named Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy

July 10, 2014

Peter C. Burns, the Henry J. Massman Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, and concurrent professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been named director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy).

Thomson Reuters Names Three Notre Dame Faculty Among the World's Most Influential Scientific Minds

July 2, 2014

Joan Brennecke, Bertrand Hochwald, and Prashant Kamat have been named to Thomson Reuters’ list of The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: 2014. The list includes more than 3,200 scientists around the world who have published the highest number of articles that are cited the most frequently by other researchers. The list was compiled from two separate Thomson Reuters studies analyzed for publication and citation data from 21 broad fields of study, ranging from chemistry to social sciences.

Brennecke Awarded American Chemical Society's E.V. Murphree Award

September 26, 2013

Joan F. Brennecke, the Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and director of the University of Notre Dame Energy Center, has been awarded the E.V. Murphree Award in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (ACS) for outstanding research of a theoretical or experimental nature.