(398bb) Bijel Derived Nanocomposite Membranes for Advanced Separations | AIChE

(398bb) Bijel Derived Nanocomposite Membranes for Advanced Separations


Haase, M. F. - Presenter, Chemical Engineering
Stebe, K. J., University of Pennsylvania
Lee, D., University of Pennsylvania
New approaches to fabricate separation membranes are needed to replace energy intensive industrial separation processes. Here, we introduce bicontinuous interfacially jammed emulsions (bijels) as templates for micro-, ultra- and nanofiltration membranes. These polymer/nanoparticle composite membranes have exceptionally high nanoparticle loadings (here up to 50 wt-% silica nanoparticles) with virtually the entire membrane surface covered by nanoparticles. Maximum organic solvent resistance of the membranes is achieved by employing highly cross-linked polyacrylates. The structurally well-defined, asymmetric membranes facilitate distinguished control over membrane flux and selectivity, enable the formation of stimuli responsive membranes, and can be easily surface modified to introduce antifouling features. They achieve 100 % separation of 15 nm gold particles from an aqueous dispersion. Moreover, we reveal for the first-time intermediate stages of the membrane structure-formation-dynamics by scanning electron microscopy. Our findings provide mechanistic insights also to formation routes of conventional membranes obtained by nonsolvent induced phase separation. The present work lies the foundation for advanced nanocomposite membranes with potential applications in water treatment, industrial separations and catalytic membrane reactors.