Australian researchers develop new membrane technology for purification processes

A collaborative research team from the University of Melbourne in the state of Victoria, Australia, has recently developed new and advanced membrane technology that is designed to supply clean water for use in desalination and water purification applications.

March 24, 2015 -- A collaborative research team from the University of Melbourne in the state of Victoria, Australia, has recently developed new and advanced membrane technology that is designed to supply clean water for use in desalination and water purification applications.

Professor Sandra Kentish, along with Professor Frank Caruso and Dr. Jacky Cho from the Melbourne School of Engineering, as well as Dr. Anita Hill from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, worked collaboratively to cultivate the technology. The project was made possible through funding from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

Kentish, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, noted that up until now, there has not been a way to add chlorinating agents to water to prevent biological growth in the desalination process. "Such biofouling has been a major issue to date, but the new membranes have the potential to lead to a more economic desalination operation," she said.

The membranes use layer-by-layer polymer assembly to deliver clean water more efficiently. "The new membranes perform at a comparable level to existing commercial membranes used in these applications," Kentish said, "but importantly show greater resistance to attack by chlorine containing chemicals."

For Kentish, the availability of fresh water for drinking, irrigation and industrial use is one of the grand challenges of this century. Energy-efficient water purification has the potential to improve the lives of billions of people around the world. "The chlorine-resistant membrane materials can cut out additional processing steps reducing operating costs," she said. "They can also prevent the decrease in water flow that is currently observed with time due to biological fouling."

See also:

"Australian pipeline project improves operations with high-precision actuators"

"Australian sewage treatment plant to receive major upgrade under DBO contract"

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