CAREER: Molecular Sieve Inclusion Nanocomposite (MoSIN) Membranes for Liquid Separations

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project Summary: Energy is required in the production of water, and water is required in the production of energy: an interdependent relationship called the energy-water nexus. Membrane processes offer potential sustainable solutions to augment existing water and energy sources. Here we will develop new membranes for recovery of water through osmotic processes and for recovery of biofuels through pervaporation. Two main challenges facing nonporous polymeric membranes are that: (1) an upper bound, representing the tradeoff between membrane permeability and selectivity, limits the overall performance of dense polymeric membranes and (2) polymers with appropriate separation performance often lack tolerance to harsh environments (extreme pHs, temperatures, oxidizing conditions). Non-polymer molecular sieve materials (e.g. zeolites and metal-organic-frameworks) exhibit performance that surpasses the upper-bound curve and, because of their high inorganic content, are more robust to harsh environments than polymers. Molecular sieves, however, are expensive to fabricate into large, continuous membranes. Ideal Mixed Matrix Membranes (MMMs) combine polymeric and molecular sieve materials and retain the best properties of each material. In this project, we propose to develop and characterize a new class of chemical-resistant Molecular Sieve Inclusion Nanocomposite (MoSIN) membranes for liquid separations. These MoSIN membranes will incorporate selective molecular sieve nanoparticles (Linde Type A zeolites, silicalites, and MOFs) into barrier-polymeric thin films for osmotic and pervaporation applications. This is a new research direction that leverages our groups extensive experience with synthesis and characterization of zeolite-polyamide nanocomposite reverse osmosis membranes and the extensive research facilities available at Arizona State University.
Effective start/end date7/1/136/30/21


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $521,714.00


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