Hierarchical Nanoporous Filtration Membranes Enabled by a Roll-to-Roll Compatible Bottom-up Technology

Wednesday, October 19, 2011: 9:10 AM
200 F (Minneapolis Convention Center)
Peng Jiang, Chemical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Recent outbreaks of cholera in Haiti and swine flu over the world emphasize the importance in developing novel and inexpensive bioseparation media for removing pathogenic viruses and bacteria from drinking water and air.  Macroporous membranes templated from self-assembled colloidal crystals consist of crystalline arrays of macro-sized voids which are interconnected by a network of monodispersed nano-sized pores.  This unique hierarchical porous structure is promising for size-exclusive bioseparation.  Unfortunately, traditional colloidal templating techniques suffer from low throughput and incompatibility with standard industrial manufacturing, which greatly hamper the development of practical macroporous membranes for challenging bioseparation. We have developed a novel roll-to-roll compatible doctor blade coating (DBC) technology that combines the simplicity and cost benefits of bottom-up self-assembly with the scalability and compatibility of standard industrial manufacturing.  The platform enables the continuous production of large-area macroporous polymer membranes with highly uniform and interconnecting nanopores which have been successfully utilized for size-exclusive separation of pathogenic viruses and bacteria from water and air. The surface of the templated macroporous polymer membranes can be chemically functionalized to create self-cleaning and antifouling filters. The low manufacturing cost enabled by the DBC technology will allow it to be deployed in developing countries or disaster areas with high demand of clean water and air.

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