Synthesis and Applications of Functionalized Membranes with Responsive Behavior

Mentors: D. Bhattacharyya, and Zach Hilt  Microfiltration membranes are commonly used for filtration of suspended solids, bacteria, etc.  However, one can create advanced membranes by functionalization of the pores with appropriate macromolecules, nanostructured catalysts, and providing applications ranging from stimuli-responsive flux and separations at low pressure, toxic metal capture, green chemical synthesis, to toxic organics destruction. Various base membranes, such as, cellulosics, polycarbonate, alumina, poly vinylidene fluoride (PVDF), polysulfone, polyamide, etc. can be used to create responsive membranes using simple functionalization approaches.  The REU students will work on creation of highly porous phase inversion membranes and subsequent functionalization of pores by stimuli responsive polymers (such as, poly-glutamic acid). Degradation kinetics of model organic pollutants will be studied. In addition, synthesis will include layered assembly for enzyme catalyzed green synthesis of chemicals. The use of SEM, TEM and other advanced instruments will further enhance student’s knowledge in the membrane material characterization area.