(404f) New Membrane Frontiers and Challenges

Authors: 
Bhattacharyya, D., University of Kentucky

Membrane processes such as, Reverse Osmosis, Nanofiltration, Ultrafiltration, and Microfiltration are providing many successful, energy efficient applications ranging from high quality water production to water reuse to material recovery, but integration of nanotechnology and biological aspects in membranes should add immense value in the area of selective separations and catalysis.  Some of the questions are: Can we make membranes that are tunable and responsive and that can be synthesized in a larger scale? Can we add functional moiety in membranes which can go through conformation changes and provide selectivity? Can we make membrane which is truly antifouling and long life (need to learn from nature), and what about graphene membranes?  Can we integrate nanotechnology and membranes for efficient separations or catalysis? Transport of molecular species through protein channels are orders of magnitude enhanced over conventional nanoporous membrane materials, and enzymes allow the rapid cleavage of strong covalent bonds in aqueous environments. Thus nature provides lot of interesting clues in advancing membranes to new frontiers.