May 07, 2018

Researchers Explore Polymer Membranes As Water Treatment Solution

Block polymer membranes could be a water treatment solution that is able to treat a variety of contaminants and improve efficiency

Water treatment method researched at University of Notre Dame

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University found that self-assembled block polymer membranes could be a new option for water treatment. The study, published in Nature Partner Journals–Clean Water, focused on block polymer membranes because of their well-defined nanostructures and functionality, according to a press release by the University of Notre Dame.

“Most state-of-the-art membranes for water treatment are designed to let water pass through while filtering contaminants,” William Phillip, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Notre Dame said. “The exciting thing about self-assembled block polymer membranes is that you can engineer the nanostructure and pore wall chemistry of the membrane through the design.”

Phillip and the team was able to molecularly engineer the chemical properties of the polymer to create large areas of high-performance membrane, reduce pore size and design multifunctional pore wall chemistries for solute-specific separation. This flexible and durable application has the potential to reduce the number of filtration passes required for irrigation, control concentrations of chlorine, and reduce biofouling and operating costs.