Polymeric Membranes - Materials and Processes in gas- and liquid-phase separations
aHelmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Institute of Polymer Research, Max-Planck-Str. 1,
21502 Geesthacht, Germany
Membrane based separation techniques are used in various fields like chemical- and pharmaceutical industrie. For example, water and wastewater treatment, gas separation, separation of chemicals and petrochemicals, haemodialysis or in clinical sensors, in juice production, wine filtration, separation of biomolecules or drug delivery.
Membrane technology plays an increasingly important role in separation processes. Key factors in membrane technology are recycling and reuse of raw materials and very low energy consumption. However, the number of applications where membranes are in practical use is still rather limited, as different separations face different conditions and thus require different membranes and membrane-based process designs. Therefore, a large long-term challenge is the development of new membrane materials with tailored properties and their processing into membranes in combination with the design of intensified and efficient separation processes. The aim is the combination of high selectivity and high permeability, the chemical, thermal and structural stability of membranes under sometimes rather harsh conditions are the most relevant issues in membrane development.
The environmentally benign, cost-effective, and energetically advantageous membrane technology has made the applicability of membranes, especially in the field of gas phase separation, quite demanding. Membrane-based gas separation is commercially suited for a wide range of interesting applications, such as hydrogen recovery, carbon dioxide removal from natural gas, and recovery of volatile organic compounds. The ever-growing world population and the associated demand for clean water embody a key challenge for our society. Moreover, the upcoming environmental problems such as water demand for more energy-efficient and sustainable technologies. Toward these problems, separation processes using ultrafiltration (UF) membranes have drawn immense attraction, as they are an excellent alternative to energy-consuming techniques like distillation.
The main research focus at the Institute of Polymer Research of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht is the development of membranes for liquid and gas phase separation. Due to the interdisciplinary integration of material sciences and engineering, our research covers the full spectrum from basic research to industrial applications. The latest equipment and methods for synthesis, characterization and processing of polymers, membrane preparation, module development and design, as well as modelling of separation processes, substantiate our competence in the field of polymer science and membranes. Specifically, the synthesis and characterization of tailor-made polymers for membrane applications is in the foreground.
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