Hollow fibers allow large surface are to volume ratios and are therefore very interesting for membrane applications. Polymeric hollow fibers have been investigated for a long time, inorganic hollow fibers have received far less attention. In the group Inorganic Membranes we recently developed a fast and low-cost method for the production of porous inorganic hollow fibers. In this method first a polymer hollow fiber, filled with inorganic particles, is made via dry/wet-spinning. Subsequently, this fiber is given a thermal treatment to burn out the polymer and sinter the inorganic particles together. Each step in the fabrication process has an effect on the final properties of the fibers. For instance, during spinning the composition of the polymer mixture, the nature of the particles, and the spinning conditions will strongly affect the shape, composition, and morphology of the fiber. Heat treatment will have effect on the strength, porosity, and pore distribution of the fibers.
Figure 1: SEM image of stainless steel hollow fiber.
Figure 2: Stainless steel hollow fibers, standard dimensions, (left) and small radial dimensions comparable to that of haemodialysis fibers (right).
We have demonstrated that our method can be used for fabrication of for porous hollow fibers made of alumina and of steel. In this bachelor assignment the aim is to investigate the possibility to make Nickel hollow fibers. Such fibers can for instance have particular advantages for application in catalysis.
The project involves the entire preparation of the Nickel hollow fibers via dry/wet-spinning and thermal treatment, followed by analysis of the morphology, the mechanical properties, and the performance of the fibers. The assignment is suitable for students with an affinity for process technology or materials science.
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