BSc and MSc assignments

In the chemical industry, membranes can form an energy-efficient alternative to classical separation technologies. Polymeric membranes are already widely applied in for example water purification (your drinking water will probably have passed a membrane) and in kidney dialysis. These applications are in watery environments at room temperature. In the chemical industry, membranes are typically required to operate at extreme conditions such as high temperatures, high pressures, low or high pHs, and aggressive solvents. Under these conditions, hybrid and inorganic membranes can be a suitable candidates.

In the group Inorganic Membranes (and the subgroup Fluids in Films), research is performed into these high-performance membranes. The group studies both the fabrication, as well as the application of the membranes. Therefore, research is performed in both the domains; material science and process engineering.

Listed below are possible topics for bachelor’s and/or master’s assignments. Research is not exclusively limited to these projects, and often an assignment can be tailored together with the student. To discuss possible assignments please contact Nieck Benes (, bachelor assignments) or Louis Winnubst (, master assignments)

Thesis Assignments

Mesoporous Ceramic Membranes for Organic Solvent Nanofiltration

Much industrial and academic research has focused on aqueous-based separations, such as desalination and wastewater treatment. These membranes are however often incompatible with many organic solvents, not possessing the required durability and performance. A new class of hybrid membranes with the required characteristics suitable for organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) has received much interest from academia and industry alike. It is in this field, specifically the post-fabrication modification of inorganic membranes with organic polymers, that the Master’s student will perform his research. ... read more

Microporous Ceramic Membranes for Gas Separation

The unique properties of microporous ceramic membranes make them ideal candidates for gas separation applications. Their high thermal and mechanical stability allow these membranes to withstand high temperature and pressure, commonly found in industrial applications such as the removal of hydrogen in refineries and the removal of carbon dioxide from syngas. However, further improvements are still required in terms of reproducible membrane fabrication methods and gas separation performance. ... read more

In-operando characterization of organic solvent nanofiltration membranes

In many industries, a large amount of wastewater is produced and recycling of this water can be beneficial, both economically and ecologically. Hydrocarbons are known contaminants of wastewater streams. These hydrocarbons affect the stability of the current generation of membranes. An example of this is found in the oil and gas industry, where recycle water is desalinated for Enhancement Oil Recovery. The hydrocarbons have a negative effect on the performance of the desalination membranes. ... read more

Advanced hollow fibers for high temperature gas separation

We recently demonstrated hyper-cross-linked hybrid membranes that are capable of sieving hot gasses at temperatures up to 300 ºC. These membrane are fabricated by polymerization of an inorganic reactant, dissolved in water, and an organic precursor, dissolved in an organic solvent. A porous support structure is impregnated with the aqueous solution, and then brought in contact with the organic solution. The polymerization is confined to the interface of the two immiscible solvents, resulting in an inherently thin film (~10-7 m) on top of the porous support. ... read more