For many membranes and membrane processes, it is the outer few nanometers of a membrane surface that determine critical performance parameters such as selectivity and fouling. Within MSuS, we aim to understand and control the interactions at the membrane surface for improved performance, but also to create additional functionalities. The focus is on polymeric membranes and the application of polymeric coatings for various functional enhancements, including anti-fouling, enhanced separations, easy-to-clean membranes, and virus inactivation. Typical coatings include polymer brushes, polyelectrolyte multilayers and thin layers of self-assembled diblock-copolymer. Moreover, a strong driver for the group is the desire to make membrane technology more sustainable. Membrane materials are prepared under completely aqueous conditions, without utilizing the unsustainable and toxic organic solvents that are usually required.
Within the group, we also study the fundamental behaviour of stimulus responsive polymers at the solid-water interface and their interactions with all types of salt ions and surfactants.
The group is built on the expertise and vision of Associate Professor Wiebe M. de Vos and combines the more fundamental fields of physical chemistry, surface science, and polymer science with the more applied field of membranes. The research within the group is split between three distinct but strongly related research lines:
- Interactions at the membrane surface,
- Membrane coatings, and
- Advanced membrane materials
- Polymer fundamentals at solid-liquid interfaces
Further details of these research lines can be found here.