My research focusses on the fabrication of inorganic hollow fiber membranes of various materials. Materials are of interest range from ceramics such as alumina, titiania or zirconia; metals, such as aluminium, stainless steel or nickel; and non-oxides such as silicon carbide and silicon nitride. The aim is to create functional fibers, in this case catering to two specific applications.
The first application involves the analysis of non-aqueous solute solutions via a flow field fraction technique. For this, the required hollow fibers must have a well-defined inner surface, a pore size below 5 nm, and appropriate solvent resistance. Currently, our focus is on post-modification of the bore surface of hollow fibers by various techniques, including coating and grafting.
The second application is an industrial scale separation process, that can benefit from silicon carbide hollow fibers with good mechanical strength and a pore-size below 100 nm. Silicon carbide is an interesting material for water treatment applications, as it is less susceptible to fouling compared to other inorganic materials. The fouling resistance of silicon carbide is not fully understood, albeit theories exist. We aim to investigate the interaction mechanism of the oil/water/membrane system and use this knowledge to optimize fiber properties, and aspire to develop novel sintering strategies to enhance the mechanical strength.