The Nanostructured Polymeric Membranes group at KAUST works on synthesis and functionalization of new polymers and copolymers and their manufacture into membranes with controlled morphology for application in water purification, biological, chemical and pharmaceutical separations and bioelectrochemical processes.
For synthesis and functionalization, controlled polymerization, click chemistry and silane-based modification are the methods used in the lab.
For the membrane manufacture as flat-sheet, hollow fiber and porous particles fundamental aspects of thermodynamics and rheology of polymer solutions, self-assembly of block copolymer and mechanisms of phase separation are investigated. Green solvents, different methods of polymer crosslink in bulk, surface and pore functionalization are being explored. Multilayer membranes are prepared by spin-coating, dip-coating and interfacial polymerization, as well as co-extrusion of bilayer hollow fibers.
The lab uses different methods of scanning and transmission electron microscopy, including cryo, focus ion beam, atomic force microscopy for morphological characterization, thermal analysis, porosimetry, infrared spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance for polymer and chemical characterization. The lab also uses synchrotron facilities for small angle x-ray scattering and time-resolved self-assembly characterization.