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Hybrid nanofiltration membrane fabrication and optimization on a pre-functionalized macroporous ceramic support

Hybrid nanofiltration membrane fabrication and optimization on a pre-functionalized macroporous ceramic support

Many industrial process streams are comprised of solvents and small organic solutes (< 1000 g mol-1). To concentrate these solutes and purify the solvent medium, nanofiltration membranes are employed. The aim of this project is to make a stable and ultra-thin solvent resistant nanofiltration membrane by using a pre-functionalized macroporous ceramic support to direct the organic network formation. This new class of hybrid membranes will have the advantages over traditional membranes due to their ability to withstand basic/acidic conditions, organic mscassignmentsolvents, high temperatures etc.

The candidate will benefit of the expertise and equipment of the Inorganic Membranes group to: 

Figure 1. Schematic representation of the synthesis of a polymeric ultra-thin membrane using a pre-functionalized porous ceramic support.

  1. Fabricate a selective layer on a commercial ceramic support. This method implies the functionalization of the inorganic surfaces via an inorganic-organic linking agent [1], followed by a network formation on the pre-functionalized support [2]. The fabrication process is shown in Figure 1.
  2. Characterization of the as-prepared membranes by various techniques, such as FTIR, AFM, permporometry, electron      microscopy, etc.
  3. Synthesis optimization (monomer concentration, linker density, solvents, etc...) to control membrane properties.
  4. Evaluate the performance of membranes under OSN conditions: filtration of both polar and non-polar organic solvents with model solutes.

Skills which will be developed during this Master assignment which focus on synthesis and characterization:

  • Functionalization of inorganic surface with inorganic-organic linking chemistry
  • Adaptation to state-of-the-art “Click Chemistry” reactions for utilization in membrane technology
  • Characterization of the as-prepared membranes (SEM, EDX, FTIR, AFM, permporometry etc...)
  • Evaluation of membrane performances under OSN conditions (mixtures of solvents and solutes)


For more information please contact:


[1]           A.F.M. Pinheiro, D. Hoogendoorn, A. Nijmeijer, L. Winnubst, Development of a PDMS-grafted alumina membrane and its evaluation as solvent resistant nanofiltration membrane, J. Memb. Sci. 463 (2014) 24–32. doi:10.1016/j.memsci.2014.03.050.

[2]           M.F. Jimenez Solomon, Y. Bhole, A.G. Livingston, High flux hydrophobic membranes for organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN)-Interfacial polymerization, surface modification and solvent activation, J. Memb. Sci. 434 (2013) 193–203. doi:10.1016/j.memsci.2013.01.055.