Available fresh water supplies continue to dwindle as water demand rises from expanding world population, urbanization and industrial development. To meet global water needs, new membrane technologies are sought that allow for cost effective recycling of municipal, industrial, and commercial wastewaters. Membranes with molecular-scale fractionation capability are of further interest for low-cost separations in the food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Current polymer membrane technologies suffer from inherently low throughput, poor selectivity and high susceptibility to fouling by biological molecules and oils commonly present in feed streams. Our work thus focuses on the development of new materials and processing strategies to create anti-fouling ultrafiltration membranes with enhanced flux and service lifetimes, and anti-fouling nanofiltration membranes that deliver high effluent quality and molecular-scale fractionation capability.