Entry Date:
October 29, 2013

Nanostructured Membranes for Water Purification and Gas Separations

Principal Investigator Rohit Karnik

Co-investigators Jing Kong , Nicolas Hadjiconstantinou , Evelyn Wang

Controlling the nanoscale structure of materials offers new avenues for advancing membrane technology. We are developing new membranes for water purification and gas separations. We have developed membranes that employ short hydrophobic nanopores to trap vapor, and enable practically isothermal vapor-phase transport across two liquid menisci separated by a sub-micron vapor gap. This membrane decouples the transport from membrane material, presenting opportunities to make them chlorine-resistant. It can potentially reject all non-volatile material such as boron that is otherwise difficult to remove using polymeric membranes. We are also developing graphene-based membranes that exploits flow through nanometer-scale pores in graphene. Theoretical studies have shown the potential of these membranes for high-flux water purification and gas separations. We are developing methods to fabricate such membranes and techniques to study mass transport through graphene.