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Rodney H. Banks (born January 14, 1953) is an American industrial chemist and a research associate with Nalco Holding Company in Naperville, Illinois, which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Ecolab Inc.
His inventions have greatly enhanced industrial water purification control.
The Perkin Medal for his services from the Society of Chemical Industry's American section, the highest award for applied chemistry in the United States, was given to Banks in 2011.
Early life and education
Banks was born in Long Beach, California, on January 14, 1953, and later moved with his family to Maryland. Mark, his father worked as a chemist for the US Defense Department in Washington, D.C., influencing the younger Banks to work in the same field. In 1975, banks attended Johns Hopkins University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He received his Ph.D. in organic/physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for Nobel prize Laureate and fellow Perkin medalist Glenn Seaborg on the synthesis and analysis of volatile actinide compounds in 1980.
In 1980, the bank moved to the Chicago area, where they spent a short time as a post-doctoral student at Argonne National Laboratory on the x-ray photoemission spectroscopy characteristics of neptunium oxides before joining Nalco Chemical Company as a research scientist.
Banks and other Nalco researchers discovered opportunities for enhanced monitoring and control of water used in several industrial processes, including in paper mills, oil refineries, automotive plants, and steel mills in the mid-1980s. The invention and commercialization of fluorescent trace trace trace technology, trade-named TRASAR, was led by he and colleague John Hoots. Chemical and mechanical sensors were used in the bank's work for enhanced monitoring and control. In 2008, the 3D TRASAR version of this technology received a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in the United States for its cooling water application.
To determine chemical treatment concentrations, corrosion, scale, and microbial fouling, banks have developed various electrochemical, optical, quartz crystal microbalance-based sensors. He holds more than 30 patents in the United States.