For many membranes and membrane processes, it is the outer few nanometers of a membrane surface that determine critical performance parameters such as selectivity and fouling. Within MSuS, we aim to understand and control the interactions at the membrane surface for improved performance, but also to create additional functionalities. The focus is on polymeric membranes and the application of polymeric coatings for various functional enhancements, including anti-fouling, enhanced separations, easy-to-clean membranes and virus in-activation. Typical coatings include polymer brushes, polyelectrolyte multilayers and thin layers of self-assembled diblock-copolymer. Moreover, a strong driver for the group is the desire to make membrane technology more sustainable. Membrane materials are prepared under completely aqueous conditions, without utilizing the unsustainable and toxic organic solvents that are usually required.
Membrane surface science combines the more fundamental fields of polymer science, surface science and physical chemistry with the much more applied field of membranes. The research in the group is split into three research lines: Interactions at the Membrane surface, Membrane Coatings, and advanced Membrane Materials. A more detailed description of the current research projects can be found at the group website: www.utwente.nl/msus.