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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R018847/1
Title: CBET-EPSRC A Game-Changing Approach for Tunable Membrane Development: Novel COF Active Layers Supported by Solvent Resistant Materials
Principal Investigator: Livingston, Professor A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Northwestern University Uni of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Department: Department of Chemical Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2017 Ends: 31 October 2020 Value (£): 225,939
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Separation Processes
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Periodic water shortages in many regions throughout the world are increasing because of population growth, urbanization, economic development, and climate change. The need to provide a safe drinking water supply from increasingly complex sources polluted by multiple contaminants has motivated the development of novel membrane technologies. Pressure-driven nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) membrane processes are increasingly used for drinking water treatment because they are capable of removing all pathogens and most organic and inorganic contaminants in a single treatment step. However, more widespread adoption of these technologies has been limited because of inadequate resistance of state-of-the-art NF and RO membranes to (bio)fouling, compaction, and chemical oxidation coupled with a relatively narrow range of solute selectivity.

This project will overcome the current NF and RO membrane challenges by using pioneering interfacial polymerization (IP) methods to fabricate active layers of two-dimensional covalent organic frameworks (COFs) interfaced with compatible support media. 2D COFs are crystalline, permanently porous, and layered macromolecules with structure, chemical composition, and porosity set through the rational design of their monomers. COFs will provide separating layers comprising uniform pores with tailored size, shape, and variable chemical functionality in contrast to the amorphous and empirically optimized polyamide active layers present in the state-of-the-art NF/RO membranes.

The project contributes fundamental knowledge towards a new class of membranes to affordably solve many of the global water challenges through the design, synthesis, and characterization of a new library of COF-based membrane active layers that will be formed directly on novel support layers and tailored to meet specific performance targets. The novel COF-based membranes have the potential of significantly decreasing the operating costs of membrane based water treatment systems and increasing broader implementation of these technologies.

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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk