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FF4.01 - Materials for Membranes and Water Sustainability 
December 1, 2014   3:15pm - 3:45pm

The availability of drinking water and water reuse for agriculture or industrial purposes has been increasingly facilitated by membrane technology. Well-established processes like reverse osmosis dominates the market for water desalination. Other emerging processes are being implemented with the development of membranes with a diverse set of properties. Examples are nanofiltration for partial desalination of seawater for agriculture, forward osmosis for hybrid water reuse systems, microbial fuel cell and pressure-retarded osmosis for water-energy recovery. Our group has been dedicated to the synthesis of new polymers, their functionalization and morphology control aiming at the application to water-based separations. We focus on the development of porous membranes, which depending on hydrophobicity can be applied membrane distillation (MD) and ultrafiltration, as well as support for multilayer nanofiltration or forward osmosis membranes. We have been working for instance with fluorinated polyoxadiazoles and polytriazoles for MD. Analogous polymers with different chemical functionalizations have been used to manufacture solvent resistant membranes (hollow fiber and flat-sheet) for ultrafiltration and as support for forward osmosis. Besides chemical functionality, morphology control is a challenging task. Most of the available membranes have a broad range of pore size distribution. We have been exploring special techniques based on block copolymers to enable the manufacture of membranes with exceptional high and regular porosity. Recent advances and strategies for membrane manufacture for water-based separations will be summarized.

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