Richard D. Noble

Richard NobleAlfred T. and Betty E. Look Professor
NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Membrane Applied Science and Technology, Co-Director
ECCH 122
(303) 492-6100
Curriculum Vitae
Google Scholar Profile


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


  • National Society of Professional Engineers/Professional Engineers in Higher Education/Sustaining University Program Engineering Education Excellence Award (2013)
  • Clarence G. Gerhold Award, sponsored by UOP from the Separations Division of the AIChE (2011)
  • Chemstations Lectureship Award (2011)
  • Chair d'Excellence Pierre de Fermat, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France (2011)
  • AICHE Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology (2010)
  • Robert L. Stearns Award, CU Boulder Alumni Association (2010)
  • Fellow, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (2009-2012)
  • Inventor of the Year, CU Boulder (2008)
  • Barrer Lecture, Penn State University (2008)
  • Alfred T. and Betty E. Look Professor of Chemical Engineering (2005-Present)
  • Department Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award (2008, 2007, 2006, 2003)
  • Elected Fellow of the ACS I&EC Division (2007)
  • AIChE Institute Service to Society Award (2005)
  • CU Residence Life Teaching Award (2004)
  • UC Davis Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award (2003)
  • Elected Fellow of AIChE (2001)
  • Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence in Research Award (2001)

Selected Publications

  • Bara, J.E.; Camper, D.E..; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., “Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids and Composite Materials: Platform Technologies for CO2Capture”, Accounts of Chemical Research, 43(1), 152-159 (2010).
  • Noble, R.D., “Perspectives on Ionic Liquids and Ionic Liquid Membranes”, Journal of Membrane Science, 369(1-2),1-4 (2011).
  • Noble, R.D., “Perspectives on Mixed Matrix Membranes”, Journal of Membrane Science, 378, 393-397 (2011).
  • Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., “Designing Next-Generation Membranes for Chemical Separations”, Science, 332, 674-676, May 6, 2011.
  • Yu, M.; Noble, R.D. and Falconer, J.L., “Zeolite Membranes: Microstructure Characterizations and Permeation Mechanisms”, Accounts of Chemical Research,44 (11), 1196-1206 (2011).
  • Jin, Y.; Voss, B.; Jin, A.; Long, H.; Noble, R.D.; Zhang, W.; “Highly CO2-Selective Organic Molecular Cages: What Determines the CO2Selectivity”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133(17), 6650-6658 (2011).
  • Carlisle, T.K.; Nicodemus, G.; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D., “CO2/Light Gas Separation Performance of Cross-Linked Poly (vinylimidizolium) Gel Membranes as a Function of Ionic Liquid Loading and Cross-Linker Content”, Journal of Membrane Science, 397-398, 24-37 (2012).
  • Carlisle, T.K.; Wiesenhauser, E.F.; Nicodemus, G.; Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D.,“Ideal CO2/Light Gas Separation Performance of Poly (vinylimidizolium) Membranes and Poly (vinylimidizolium)-Ionic Liquid Composite Films”, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 52(3), 1023-1032 (2013).
  • Jin, Y.; Voss, B.A,; McCaffrey, R.; Baggett, C.T. ; Noble, R.D. and Zhang, W., “Microwave-Assisted Syntheses of Highly CO2-Selective Organic Cage Frameworks (OCFs)”, Chemical Science,3(3), 874-877 (2012).
  • Hudiono, Y.C.; LaFrate, A.L.; Gibson, P.W.; Miller II, A.L.; Noble, R.D. and Gin, D.L., “A Highly Breathable Organic-Inorganic Barrier Material that Blocks the Passage of Mustard Agent Simulants”, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 51(21), 7453-7456 (2012).
  • Voss, B.A.;  Noble, R.D.  and Gin, D.L., “An Ionic Liquid Gel-Based Containment and Decontamination Coating for Blister Agent-Contacted Substrates”, Chemistry of  Materials, 24(6), 1174-1180 (2012).
  • Funke, H.H.; Tokay, B.; Zhou, R.; Ping. E.W.; Zhang, Y.; Falconer, J.L. and Noble, R.D., “Spatially-Resolved Gas Permeation through SAPO-34 Membranes”, Journal of Membrane Science, 409, 212-221 (2012).
  • Ping. E.W.; Zhou, R.; Funke, H.H.; Falconer, J.L. and Noble, R.D., “Seeded-gel Synthesis of SAPO-34 Single Channel and Monolith Membranes for CO2/CH4Separations”, Journal of Membrane Science, 415, 770-775 (2012).
  • Urban, N.D.; Gin, D.L.; Noble, R.D.; Schenkel, M.R. and Robertson, L.A., “Modified Normal-Phase Ion-Pair Chromatographic Methods for the Facile Separation and Purification of Imidazolium-Based Ionic Compounds”, Tetrahedron Letters, 53, 3456-3458 (2012).
  • Nguyen, P.T., Wiesenauer, E.F., Gin, D.L. and Noble, R.D. “Effect of composition and nanostructure on CO2/light gas transport properties of supported alkyl-imidazolium block copolymer membranes”, Journal of Membrane Science, 430, 312-320 (2013).
  • Carter, B.M.; Wiesenauer, B.R.; Hatakeyama, E.S.; Barton, J.L.; Noble, R.D. and Gin, D.L., “A Glycerol-based Bicontinuous Cubic Lyotropic Liquid Crystal Monomer System for the Fabrication of Thin-film Membranes with Uniform Nanopores”, Chemistry of Materials,24 (21), 4005-4007 (2012).
  • Wiesenauer, E.F., Nguyen, P.T., Newell, B.S., Bailey, T.S., Noble, R.D., Gin, D.L., "Imidazolium-containing, hydrophobic-ionic-hydrophilic ABC triblock copolymers: synthesis, ordered phase-separation, and supported membrane fabrication", Soft Matter, 9(33), 7923-7927 (2103). 

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.