Project Profile

Project Title Ultrafiltration fouling control via environment responsive membranes from model solutions to industrial feed streams
Project Code 2002CE41
Project Status Completed
End Date February 2006
Sponsor(s) Volkswagen Stiftung
Executive Summary Full Text

The objective is to understand the nature and mechanism of membrane fouling during the ultrafiltration of multi-component feed streams. This would form the basis for the design of low fouling polymeric membranes capable of withstanding variations in feed composition including shock loads of foulants. The experiment work will involve functionalization of membrane surfaces using heterogeneous photo initiated graft copolymerization. Using a tool box of various functional monomers alone and in mixtures under optimized initiation and functionalization conditions, a systematic and combinatorial variation of membrane surface layer chemistry (charge, hydrophilicity) and morphology9 swelling, flexibility) will be realized. Environment responsiveness will be introduced via graft polymer units and ionizable groups of lower critical solution behaviour. Membrane characterization and evaluation of transport properties will support this activity. Fouling will be investigated in depth using model foulant solutions as well as select industrial feed streams viz sugarcane juice and distillery effluent spent wash). The work will thus combine fundamental studies on fouling and membrane development with trials on locally significant industrial process streams. The project is expected to make significant contributions towards the application of a clean technology option like membrane separation in existing and new industrial sectors.