(747f) Bijel Derived, Fouling Resistant and Catalytic Ultra-/Micro- Filtration Membranes for Advanced Water Treatment Applications

Authors: 
Haase, M. F., Chemical Engineering
Stebe, K. J., University of Pennsylvania
Lee, D., University of Pennsylvania
Bicontinuous interfacially jammed emulsions (bijels) are a new class of soft materials [1] with promising applications in various areas ranging from healthcare, food, energy and reaction engineering due to their unique structural, mechanical and transport properties. We recently presented a new method to prepare bijels via solvent transfer-induced phase separation (STRIPS), which enables continuous fabrication of hierarchically structured composite fibers and membranes with a manifold of organic/inorganic building blocks [2]. These asymmetric membranes are composed of a porous polymer scaffold with inorganic nanoparticles on their surface and introduce a variety of important features: (i) Hollow fibers can be used as ultra- and micro- filtration membranes for the separation of model contaminants in water and organic solvents due to their controllable pore size and chemical stability. (ii) The membranes are resistant to biofouling due to the simplicity of chemical surface modifications. (iii) Stimuli-responsive membranes that can open/close their pores are fabricated, facilitated by the fact that broad ranges of polymeric building blocks can be integrated. And (iv) photocatalytic titanium dioxide membranes for organic contaminant oxidation are realized; other functionalities can be readily imparted due to the wide range of material choices for the nanoparticles on the membrane surface. Our work demonstrates a novel and versatile fabrication route for separation membranes with potential applications in water treatment, food processing or as separation membranes in the chemical industry.

[1] Herzig, E. M., et al. (2007). Nature materials, 6(12), 966-971.

[2] Haase, M. F., Stebe, K. J., & Lee, D. (2015). Advanced Materials, 27(44), 7065-7071.