Development of Advanced Membranes for Water Treatment and Desalination

Membranes with a well-designed pore distribution and surface properties have gained considerable attention in recent years due to their promising applications for liquid-based separation.

The state-of-the-art membranes for desalination and water treatment often adopt a thin film composite (TFC) structure comprising of a thin selective polyamide layer supported by a porous substrate. While the performance of TFC membranes is highly governed by the surface and bulk properties of both the active layer and the support, early investigations emphasized mostly modifying the active, selective layer overlooking the role of support. Recent investigations have demonstrated possibilities in engineering supports with favorable properties using novel nanomaterials.

Our research focuses on tailoring the characteristics of both the selective layer and the support to overcome the permeability selectivity trade-off exhibited by the polyamide membranes. The favorable properties of nano-sized materials, including high surface area, tailored pore structure, and attractive surface functionalities, will be effectively incorporated into the TFC layers, thus enabling superior performance.