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California State University, Long Beach
 

Chemical Engineering (ChE)

picture of faculty member

Dr. Sergio Mendez

Professor
Undergraduate Advisor

Fall 2014 Schedule

Schedule Sem/Lab Time Days Room
CHE 330 SEM 11:00-12:50PM M VEC-418
CHE 330 LAB 11:00-1:45PM W ECS-114
CHE 330 LAB 1:00-3:45PM F ECS-114
CHE 433 SEM 7:00-9:45PM Th VEC-401
CHE 533 SEM 7:00-9:45PM Th VEC-401

Profile:

Throughout his education and professional career, Dr. Mendez has sought out challenges and he has an impressive track record of accomplishments. After graduating from San Fernando high school (in so. Cal.), he served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry and was deployed to 15 countries. Upon returning home, he attended L.A.V.C. community college then transferred to U.C. Berkeley where he earned a B.S. in chemical engineering. For two-and-a-half years at Intel Corporation he excelled as a Process Engineer making Pentium chips. Mendez went on to attain a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of New Mexico where he published 10 peer-reviewed journal articles in the area of polymeric materials and computer simulations. He then acquired a postdoctoral researcher position at Cornell University (in New York) where he published 3 peer-reviewed journal articles in the area of nano-structured materials. In the fall of 2009, Dr. Mendez was appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at CSULB. His current research interests are primarily in the area of Green Engineering where he has made significant contributions in research, teaching and community outreach. Outside of his professional activities, he jogs and swims, maintains a backyard garden, and enjoys reading a good book.

GReen Engineering At The ("GREAT") Beach

Professor Mendez has established GReen Engineering At The (“GREAT”) Beach. GREAT Beach is a comprehensive effort that includes research, teaching and community outreach. Our vision is to make contributions to the advancement of green technologies, to provide education in sustainability, and to prepare our students to be active participants and leaders in the burgeoning green economy.

Research

We have ongoing research projects in renewable alternative energy and in sustainable green materials.

Renewable alternative energy
  • Solar power: fabricating dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), and measuring electrical power.
Schematic of the process to convert solar energy to electrical energy within a DSSC. titanium dioxide nanospheres used to fabricate DSSCs.
Figure 1. Schematic of the process to convert solar energy to electrical energy within a DSSC. Figure 2. We synthesized titanium dioxide nanospheres and used them to fabricate DSSCs.
  • Biofuels: converting plant and algae oils to biodiesel, and developing separation processes for purification; vehicle emissions.
Biodiesel synthesized from various plant oils: sesame, corn, canola, mixture, used canola and peanut. Carbon dioxide emissions from engine exhaust using fuel blends of biodiesel derived from various plant oils.
Figure 3. Biodiesel was synthesized from various plant oils: sesame, corn, canola, mixture, used canola and peanut. Figure 4. Carbon dioxide emissions from engine exhaust using fuel blends of biodiesel derived from various plant oils.
  • Polymer membrane fuel cells: developing chemical process to fabricate membrane electrode assembly to maximize electrical power output.
Schematic of polymer membrane fuel cell. Experimental apparatus that is used in fuel cell studies.
Figure 5. Schematic of polymer membrane fuel cell. Figure 6.Experimental apparatus that is used in fuel cell studies.
  • Wind turbines: making composite blades from plant-based fabrics, and measuring power curve.
Fabricated wind turbine blades.  In the center are 3 hemp composite blades and on the right are 3 carbon fiber blades. Graph of the Power Curve for the different blades.
Figure 7. We fabricated wind turbine blades. In the center are 3 hemp composite blades and on the right are 3 carbon fiber blades.
Sustainable green materials
  • Polyurethane "biofoam": synthesis incorporates biodiesel waste glycerol and agricultural waste chopped hay fibers
Picture of Polyurethane
Figure 8. Polyurethane "biofoam" with biodiesel waste glycerol and chopped hay fibers.
  • Hemp and flax green building materials: hand lay-up process to make composites boards; measured mechanical strength.
Tensile strength of green composites measuring. Stress versus strain curve for a hemp composite panel.
Figure 9. Tensile strength of green composites was measured. Figure 10. Stress versus strain curve for a hemp composite panel.
  • Soy proteins: new formulations for compostible adhesives and packaging materials.

Teaching (new Chemical Engineering electives courses)

  • Green Engineering I: Alternative Energy (ChE 433/533): topics in solar and wind power, fuel cells and biofuels; was offered in spring 2012.
  • Green Engineering II: Sustainable Materials: topics in life-cycle assessment, bioplastics, wastes as resources, and green building construction materials; proposed for fall 2013.

Community Outreach

Mendez is an organizer for the annual IEEE Green Energy Forums hosted on CSULB campus. At these forums guest speakers from industry, academia and government are invited to give technical presentations.
  • 2012 theme (tentative) "A System Level Discussion on Renewable Energy and Micro-grid Applications, including Electric Vehicles" (http://sites.ieee.org/clas-sysc/green-energy/2012-2/)
  • 2011 theme "A System Level Discussion on Renewable Energy Production and Electric Vehicles"
Professor Mendez with students Mike Tran & Lisa AungYong who presented their poster at the 2011 Green Energy Forum.
Professor Mendez with students Mike Tran & Lisa AungYong who presented their poster at the 2011 Green Energy Forum.
  • 2010 theme "A System Approach Toward Green Energy Production and Adaptive Power Distribution"

Professor Mendez invites CSULB students to be involved with “GREAT” Beach. As described above, there are many opportunities in research, education and life-long learning.

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