Technique could make better membranes for next-generation filtration and desalination

phys.org | 7/18/2019 | Staff
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Deriving drinkable water from seawater, treating wastewater and conducting kidney dialysis are just a few important processes that use a technology called membrane filtration.

The key to the process is the membrane filter—a thin, semi-porous film that allows certain substances such as water to pass through while separating out other, unwanted substances. But in the past 30 years, there have been no significant improvements in the materials that make up the key layers of commercially produced membrane filters.

UCLA - Researchers - Technique - Liftoff - T-FLO

Now, UCLA researchers have developed a new technique called thin-film liftoff, or T-FLO, for creating membrane filters. The approach could offer a way for manufacturers to produce more effective and energy-efficient membranes using high-performance plastics, metal-organic frameworks and carbon materials. To date, limitations in how filters are fabricated have prevented those materials from being viable in industrial production.

A study describing the work is published in the journal Nano Letters.

Lot - Materials - Lab - Separations - Richard

"There are a lot of materials out there that in the lab can do nice separations, but they're not scalable," said Richard Kaner, UCLA's Dr. Myung Ki Hong Professor of Materials Innovation and the study's senior author. "With this technique, we can take these materials, make thin films that are scalable, and make them useful."

In addition to their potential for improving types of filtration that are performed using current technology, membranes produced using T-FLO could make possible an array of new forms of filtration, said Kaner, who also is a distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and of materials science and engineering, and a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. For example, the technique might one day make it feasible to pull carbon dioxide out of industrial emissions—which would enable the carbon to be converted to fuel or other applications while also reducing pollution.

Filters - Ones - Desalination - Membranes

Filters like the ones used for desalination are called asymmetric membranes...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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