Research at UMass Lowell

Grants & Awards

UMass Lowell recently received several top research awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Army, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and others. Our faculty are among the many world-class researchers competing annually for research grants, on both the local and national level. These winning proposals demonstrate the outstanding research taking place at UMass Lowell.

Featured Award

Fuel additives help improve an engine’s performance as well as fuel economy and mileage.

Chemistry Prof. Rudolf Faust has developed a new, more environmentally friendly process for making highly reactive polyisobutylenes (HRPIBs), which are used in engine lubricants and fuel additives.

Current methods for manufacturing HRPIBs involve the use of boron trifluoride, BF3, a highly toxic and corrosive gas. Low temperatures are needed to keep the chemical reaction under control and obtain the desired molecular weight for the compounds, so the energy consumed during production is quite large.

“In recent decades, several new methods for synthesizing HRPIBs were reported, but none of them gained industrial acceptance,” says Faust. “This is likely due to the high cost of production since low temperatures and expensive chemicals are required.”

Faust’s method is not only environmentally benign but also cost-effective.