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Advanced polymer-based separation membranes with tailored barrier and surface properties

Advanced polymer-based separation membranes with tailored barrier and surface properties

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MS Teams

Event Contact:

Mathias Ulbricht
Lehrstuhl für Technische Chemie II, Universität Duisburg-Essen, 45117 Essen; CENIDE – Center for Nanointegration Duisburg-Essen, 47057 Duisburg;
ZWU – Center for Water and Environmental Sciences, Universität Duisburg-Essen, 45117
Essen, Germany.;



Membrane technologies have been established in a wide range of industrial applications; the most successful processes are nowadays realized in very large scale. Organic polymers are the dominating materials, and intense research and development is focused on innovations leading to advanced membranes with higher separation performance adapted to specific requirements of important applications [1].

In  this  presentation  we  will  illustrate  by  recent  examples  from  own  research  how  the efficiency of membrane-based separations can be improved by developing membranes with higher intrinsic permeability at high selectivity and with high resistance to fouling as well as with added functionalities based on stimuli-responsive properties. The focus will be on the integration of functional inorganic and organic nanoparticles, tailored (block) copolymers or grafted polymeric nanolayers in polymer-based membranes as well as on additional, rather easy-to-implement processing or modification steps during membrane manufacturing or application, all leading to advanced or novel membranes for ultrafiltration, nanofiltration or osmotic processes [2-7]. Such generic innovations in membrane materials will contribute to more sustainable membrane processes for applications in water purification and water reuse, but potentially also in various other fields.


[1]    S. P. Nunes, P. Z. Culfaz-Emecen, G. Z. Ramon, T. Visser, G. H. Koops, W. Jin, M. Ulbricht, Thinking the future of membranes: Perspectives for advanced and new membrane materials and manufacturing processes, Journal of Membrane Science 2020, 598, 117761.

[2]    M. Quilitzsch, R. Osmond, M. Krug, M. Heijnen, M. Ulbricht, Macro-initiator mediated surface selective functionalization of ultrafiltration membranes with anti-fouling hydrogel layers applicable to ready-to-use

capillary membrane modules, Journal of Membrane Science 2016, 518, 328-337.

[3]    X. Lin, B. N. Quoc, M. Ulbricht, Magneto-responsive polyethersulfone-based iron oxide cum hydrogel mixed matrix composite membranes for switchable molecular sieving, ACS Applied Materials Interfaces 2016, 8,


[4]    I. M. A. El-Sherbiny, A. S. G. Khalil, M. Ulbricht, Surface micro-patterning as a promising platform towards novel polyamide thin-film composite membranes of superior performance, Journal of Membrane Science

2017, 529, 11-22.

[5]    P. H. H. Duong, K. Daumann, P. Y. Hong, M. Ulbricht, S. P. Nunes, Interfacial polymerization of zwitterionic segments into thin polyamide films for high-flux nanofiltration membranes with enhanced fouling resistance,

Langmuir 2019, 35, 1284-1293.

[6]    J. Büning, I. Frost, H. Okuyama, L. Lempke, M. Ulbricht, β-Cyclodextrin-based star polymers for membrane

surface functionalization: Covalent grafting via “click” chemistry and enhancement of ultrafiltration properties,

Journal of Membrane Science 2020, 596, 117610.

[7]    J. Wieczorek, M. Ulbricht, Amphiphilic poly(arylene ether sulfone) multiblock copolymers with quaternary ammonium groups for novel thin-film composite nanofiltration membranes, Polymer 2021, 217, 123446.