A toolbox for functional polymeric membranes

A toolbox for functional polymeric membranes

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To provide access to safe drinking water is one of the most challenging problems nowadays. Worldwide industrialization leads to drinking water contamination with, e.g., organic compounds or heavy metals. Waste water treatment is often expensive and therefore not efficient. Membrane technologies are already used and have a great impact on the efficiency of those processes. However, it is important to ensure a high and constant performance in terms of selectivity and flux, and good antifouling properties for the membranes used in different application.

Therefore, the development of new materials and material combinations, providing high performance ultrafiltration membranes, is focused in this project. Using novel polymeric additives, provided by BASF, for polyethersulfone (PES) and polyphenylenesulfone (PPSU) based flat sheet membranes, investigations are focused on the influence on membrane formation and resulting properties. Membranes containing additives are characterized regarding their ultrafiltration performance as well as the anti-fouling performance. For promising material combinations, the structure-effect relationship is studied in detail. In cooperation with the Mechanical Process Engineering/Water Technology in Duisburg, correlations between modified flat sheet and hollow fibre membranes are studied. Furthermore, novel ultrafiltration membranes with additional adsorber properties towards heavy metal removal are prepared, by a surface functionalization of the support layer in a separate filtration step. The focus is on membranes, which provide high capacity for heavy metal removal but also ensure a high ultrafiltration performance.


This work is supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF; funding initiative “MachWas”; project MABMEM, reference number: 03XP0043D).

Inga Frost