Richard D. Noble

Richard Noble
Alfred T. and Betty E. Look Professor • Co-director of NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Membrane Applied Science and Technology
(303) 492-6100

ECST 207


BE., ME., Stevens Institute of Technology (1968, 1969)
Ph.D, University of California, Davis (1976)


  • AIChE Institute Service to Society Award (2005)
  • Alfred T. and Betty E. Look Professor of Chemical Engineering (2005-present)
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, Chemical Engineering Dept. (2006)
  • ACS Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Division Fellow (2007)
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, Chemical Engineering Dept. (2007)
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, Chemical Engineering Dept. (2008)
  • CU Boulder Inventor of the Year (2008)
  • Barrer Lecture, Penn State University (2008)
  • Fellow, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (2009-2012)
  • Robert L. Stearns Award, CU Alumni Association (2010)
  • Chair d”Excellence Pierre de Fermat, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France (2010)
  • AIChE Institute Excellence in Industrial Gas Technology Award (2010)
  • ASEE Chemical Engineering Chemstations Lectureship Award (2011)
  • AIChE Separations Division Clarence G. Gerhold Award (2011)
  • National Society of Professional Engineers/Professional Engineers in Higher Education/Sustaining University Program Engineering Education Excellence Award (2013)
  • Dean’s Performance Award for Research (2013)
  • IChemE Innovator of the Year (2013)
  • ACS National Award in Separation Science and Technology (2015) 

Selected Publications

  • Carlisle, T.K.; McDanel, W.M.; Cowan, M.G.; Noble, R.D. and Gin, D.L., “Vinyl-functionalized Poly(imidazollium)s: A Curable Polymer Platform for Cross-linked Ionic Liquid Gel Synthesis”, Chemistry of Materials, 26 (3), 1294-1296 (2014).
  • McDanel, W.M.; Cowan, M.G.; Carlisle, T.K.; Swanson, A.K.; Noble, R.D. and Gin, D.L., “Cross-linked Ionic Resins and Gels from Epoxide-Functionalized Ionic Liquid Monomers”, Polymer, 55. 3305–3313 (2014).
  • Kohno, Y.; Cowan, M.G.; Masuda, M.;Bhowmick, I.; Shores, M.; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., “A Cobalt (II) bis(salicylate)-based ionic liquid that shows thermoresponsive and selective water coordination”, Chemical Communications, 50, 6633–6636 (2014).
  • Yu, C.; Cowan, M.G.; Noble, R.D. and Zhang, W., “A Silver (I) Coordinated Phenanthroline-Based Polymer with High Ethylene/Ethane Adsorption Selectivity”, Chemical Communications, 50 (43), 5745-5747 (2014).
  • Lau, C.H., Nguyen, P-T, Hill, M.R., Thornton, A.W., Konstas, K. Doherty, C.M.,[a]Mulder, R.J., Bourgeois, L., Liu, A.C.Y., Sprouster, D.J., Sullivan, J.P., Bastow, T.J., Hill, A.J., Gin, D.L., Noble, R.D., ”Ending Aging in Super Glassy Polymer Membranes”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 53, 5322-5326 (2014).
  • Wu, T.; Diaz, M.C.; Zheng, Y.; Zhou, R.; Falconer, J.L. and Noble, R.D., “Influence of Propane on CO2/CH4 and N2/CH4 Separations in CHA Zeolite Membranes”, Journal of Membrane Science, 473, 201-209 (2015).
  • McDanel, W.M.; Cowan, M.G.; Barton, J.; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., "Effect of Monomer Structure on Curing Behavior, CO2 Solubility, and Gas Permeability of Ionic Liquid-based Epoxy-Amine Resins and Ion-gels", Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 54, 4396-4406 (2015) .
  • Feng, X.; Tousley, M.E.; Cowan, M.G.; Wiesenauer, B.R.; Nejati, S.; Choo, Y.; Noble, R.D.; Elimelech, M.; Gin, D.L. and Osuji, C.O., “Scalable Fabrication of Polymer Membranes with Vertically Aligned 1-nm Pores by Magnetic Field Directed Self-Assembly”, ACS Nano, 8 (12), 11977-11986 (2014).
  • Cowan, M.G.; McDanel, W.M.; Kohno, Y.; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., “High Ethene/Ethane Selectivity in Silver (I) Complexes via Removal of Coordinated Solvent”, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, in press.
  • Zhou, J.; Mok, M.M.; Cowan, M.G.; McDanel, W.M.; Carlisle, T.K.; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., “High-permeance Room Temperature Ionic Liquid-based Membranes for CO2/N2 Separation”, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 53, 20064-20067 (2014).
  • Gu, Y.; Favier, I.; Pradel, C.; Gin, D.L.; Lahitte, J-L.; Noble, R.D.; Gomez, M. and Remigy, J-C, “High catalytic efficiency of palladium nanoparticles immobilized in a polymer membrane containing poly(ionic liquid) in Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction”, Journal of Membrane Science, in press. 

Research Interests

Ionic Liquids
We are studying the use of ionic liquids for gas separations. We plan to evaluate various ionic liquids and complexation chemistry so that we can tailor the material properties to the feed mixture being separated. Various configurations, including composite polymer/IL structures, as well as the incorporation of complexation chemistry and zeolites, are being studied. We have also developed an apparatus to measure both solubility and diffusivity of gases in ionic liquids. This work is being done in collaboration with Professor Doug Gin.

Zeolite Membranes
Professor John Falconer and I have a research group that synthesizes several different zeolite membranes on the interior of microporous alumina and stainless steel tubes. We use various characterization methods including a transient technique that we developed, to obtain qualitative and quantitative structural and property information. Gas, vapor, and pervaporation permeation studies are also being conducted to evaluate the performance of the membranes for various applications. We have obtained highly selective separations for carbon dioxide/methane, organic isomer vapor and organic/water liquid phase feed selections. Highly selective hydrogen separation for fuel cell applications is also being studied. In a related study, we are developing the transient permeation technique to obtain property information for polymer membranes used in pervaporation.

Use of External Fields for Selective Separations
The basic purpose of research in this area is to study the use of electric or light energy to aid in the selective separation process. The energy is normally used to change the binding affinity of the complexing agent but also can be used to drive the process. This research is a collaboration with Professor Carl Koval in the Chemistry Department. Currently, we have developed an electrochemical pump with no moving parts that can produce a pressure in excess of 20 atm. This system has applications for lab-on-a-chip, microspectroscopy, and other micro-scale devices.

Liquid Crystals
Liquid crystals can be organized to form films with a nanostructured polymer network. These structures can be cross-linked to produce stable films that can be used as membranes. These membranes are being evaluated for nanofiltration applications. We are also preparing film for use in the electrochemical pump as well as composite structures with ionic liquids. This research is a collaboration with Professor Doug Gin.