Jeffrey Potoff

Jeffrey Potoff

Interim Chair and Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

5050 Anthony Wayne Dr
Engineering
Room 1111

jpotoff@wayne.edu
313-577-9357

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Jeffrey Potoff

Biography

Department of Chemical Engineering, Wayne State University

  • Interim Chair                    2020-present
  • Associate Dean for Academic Affairs   2016-2020
  • Professor                            2014-present
  • Associate Professor     2007-2014
  • Assistant Professor      2001-2007

Education

Post-Doctoral, Chemistry, University of Minnesota (advisor: J. Ilja Siepmann), 2000
Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Cornell University (advisor: Athanassios Z. Panagiotopoulos), 1999
B.Sc, Chemical Engineering, Michigan State University, 1994

Courses Taught

  • ChE 2800 - Material and Energy Balances
  • ChE 3220 - Measurements Laboratory
  • ChE 3300 - Thermodynamics
  • ChE 3400 - Kinetics and Reactor Design
  • ChE 3820 - Unit Operations Laboratory
  • ChE 7300 - Advanced Thermodynamics
  • BE 1300/1310 - Science of Engineering Materials

Research Interests

Our research group focuses on the application of atom-based computer simulation (Monte Carlo and Molecular dynamics) to the design of new materials.  To achieve this goal, we develop new algorithms and models (force fields), and implement them in our open-source software GOMC.  Additionally, we are contributing to the development of the Molecular Simulation Design Framework (MoSDeF) software, which enables the creation of efficient, and reproducible workflows.  Students working on these projects develop skills in programming in python and/or C++, algorithm development, including artificial intelligence, and management of an open-source software project, in addition to expertise in their chosen area of domain science.  These computational methods are applied to a number of domain science areas.

Research Projects

Prediction of Environmental Fate and Transport of Fluorinated Surfactants:

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a broad class of compounds where fluorine has been substituted for hydrogen on the alkyl chains. The most widely used and industrially relevant PFAS are surfactants, where fluorination of the alkyl tails renders them both hydrophobic and oleophobic, giving rise to unusual properties, such as exceptional chemical and thermal stability and very low interfacial tension at the air-water interface. Owing to their unique properties, PFAS are used in a broad array of consumer applications, including coatings for non-stick cookware, grease-resistant paper, and stain resistant fabrics. Industrial applications include fire-fighting foams and mist-suppressants in hard chrome plating. While having outstanding properties as surfactants, PFAS are both water soluble and very resistant to degredation in the environment. Therefore, they have significant potential for ground water contanmination and bioaccumulation. More than 4700 perfluorinated alkyl substances are known to exist, with new compounds being synthesized each year.

In my lab, we are using Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations to predict the physical properties of PFAS compounds. This is a natural application for computer simulation, given that more than 4700 perfluorinated alkyl substances are known to exist, with new compounds being synthesized each year. In addition to physical properties, computer simulations provide atomic-level insight, informing the development of new surfactants with reduced environmental impact, and/or porous materials for the removal of PFAS from drinking water supplies.

Publications

Selected recent publications (49 total).

  1. Mohammad Soroush Barhaghi, Jeffrey J. Potoff*, “Effect of fluorination on the partitioning of alcohols,” Mol. Phys. 117 (23-24), 3827-3839 (2019).
  2. Younes Nejahi, Mohammad Soroush Barhaghi, Jason Mick, Brock Jackman, Kamel Rushaidat, Yuanzhe Li, Loren Schwiebert, Jeffrey Potoff*, “GOMC: GPU Optimized Monte Carlo for the simulation of phase equilibria and physical properties of complex fluids,” SoftwareX 9, 20-27 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.softx2018.11.005.
  3. Mohammad Soroush Barhaghi, Korosh Torabi, Younes Nejahi, Loren Schwiebert, and Jeffrey J. Potoff, “Molecular Exchange Monte Carlo. A generalized method for identity exchanges in grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations,” J. Chem. Phys. 149, 072318 (2018).
  4. Jason R. Mick, Mohammad Soroush Barhaghi, Brock Jackman, Loren Schwiebert, and Jeffrey J. Potoff*, “Optimized Mie Potentials for Phase Equilibria: Application to Branched Alkanes,” J. Chem. Eng. Data. 62, 1806-1818 (2017).
  5. Mohammad Soroush Barhaghi, Jason R. Mick and Jeffrey J. Potoff*, “Optimized Mie Potentials for Phase Equilibria: Application to Alkynes,” Molec. Phys. (2017), 1-11, [invited paper] DOI: 10.1080/00268976.2017.1297862.

Awards and Honors

  • President's Award for Excellence in Teaching: 2014
  • Detroit AICHE section, Chemical Engineer of the Year: 2008
  • College of Engineering Excellence in Teaching Award: 2003-2004
  • Engineering Student Faculty Board, Outstanding Faculty Service: 2002, 2003, 2004
  • Minnesota Supercomputing Institute Research Scholar: 2000