Master's Thesis: Optimization of interlayer structure prior to the polyamid formation at Aquaporin A/S

Aquaporin A/S (Copenhagen area, Denmark) develops a new generation of biomimetic membranes in which the separation layer consists of water-transporting aquaporin proteins deposited onto a porous support via interfacial polymerization (IP). The emerging process of can be used in several industrial applications where reduction of specific effluent volumes is required.

As the water scarcity is one of the major problems to be faced by today’s society and the global water usage has increased by as much as six times over the past 100 years, the drinking water reverse osmosis (DWRO) is the one of the most emerging process in the world.

Objective

The objective of this project is to optimize the possible interlayers prior to interfacial polymerization (IP) for development of a new generation DWRO membrane. Polysulfone(PSf) membranes will be modified with selected polyelectrolites and/or natural based polydopamine (PD) polymer to create an interlayer. The aim of the interlayer is to reduce the limitation of IP process. Interlayers can be an alternative approach for fabrication a superior RO membranes with independent nanoscale thickness, roughness and chemical functionality control of IP layer.

Dip coating method will be used to modify the PSf membranes. The coating conditionals such as salt concentration, polymer type and concentration, the number of bilayers and terminating layer will be optimized in this project. PWP, SEM imaging, porosity experiments will be used to characterize the interlayers to find the optimized interlayer which will serve as an support membrane prior to IP membrane. Afterwards, the protein will be embedded inside the interlayers to increase the permeability of final selective layer without any rejection loss.

Tasks

1.Literature review on possible polyelectrolites and natural based polymers that can be used to fabricate an interlayer.

2.Laboratary works which will include:

  • Preparation of solutions and creating the experimental set-up
  • Investigating different coating conditionals for interlayers
  • Characterization of fabricated membrane
  • Evaluation of obtained results
  • Combining the protein technology with interlayers

3.Final data evaluation and thesis preparation.

Student Oportunities and Profile

This project will be a hands-on project which will give you the oportunity to investigate and understand fundamental surface modifications of polymer based membranes conventional and novel biomimetic membranes. You will have the chance to experience the membrane universe which involves the modifications, characterization&performance evaluations and manufacturing of DWRO membranes and to work in an innovative company in collaboration with a young production and the R&D team.

Proven skills in polymer chemistry, water chemistry, membrane technology and as well as profound working experiences in laboratory settings are required.

Project Start

Expected start date is 01.09.2022

Remember that a project is an invitation for dialogue where you agree on the focus of the project. You have the possibility to suggest other problem statements and perspectives besides what is outlined in the project description. Read more about project collaborations in Career guide