“Smart membrane” report published by NWRI

The National Water Research Institute in the USA has published a Final Project Report on an investigation to develop “smart” membranes designed to selectively remove particles from water or wastewater.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), formed and tested membranes made from conducting polymers to determine if particle transport could be selectively controlled by externally applied electrical fields.

Particle filtration primarily depends on the ratio of particle size to membrane pore size, as well as feed water chemistry, particle properties, and membrane chemistry. Today’s membranes have fixed physical-chemical properties, meaning their selectivity is relatively static.

Developing “smart” filtration membranes that are more selective and robust may not only lower chemical and energy inputs, says NWRI, but could also help the water and wastewater industry address rising energy costs, emerging contaminants, stricter environmental regulations and industrial demand.

The results are detailed in the 46-page report Development and Testing of “Smart” Nanofiltration Membranes prepared in July 2010 by Gregory R Guillen and Dr Eric MV Hoek of UCLA