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A polymer carbon-nantotube nanocomposite porous membrane for water filtration/desalination

Technology #inv207092014

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Adham Ramadan
Amal Esawi
Nouran El Badawi
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Ahmed Ellaithy
Director, Technology Transfer +20226153112
Ingy Darwish
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Polymer-carbon nanotube nanocomposite porous membranes

US Patent Pending US2014/0209539
Novel carbon nanotube–cellulose acetate nanocomposite membranes for water filtration applications
Desalination , Volume 344, 1 July 2014, Pages 79–85


A novel polymer Carbon Nanotube Membrane suited to a variety of applications in water filtration & purification.


Polymer-CNT membranes for water filtration/desalination have been the subject of recent research interests worldwide, due to the observed super-fast transport of water through CNTs. The common problem with polymeric desalination membranes is that water permeability and salt retention properties vary in opposing trends. High salt retention is associated with low water permeability and low salt retention is associated with high water permeability.

In order to overcome the poor water permeability, significant pressure differentials are needed across the membranes for filtration to work, which in turn requires high-energy costs.

Making membranes with aligned CNTs is also a complex procedure that is time consuming. Membranes that have been prepared so far entail multi-layers, with aligned open-ended CNTs.


This "nanocomposite" membrane is prepared by the established phase inversion method after the functionalized CNTs are dispersed in a polymer-solvent solution. The CNTs are randomly oriented within the polymeric matrix requiring a simpler preparation procedure than that needed for membranes with aligned CNTs.

The control of membrane morphology, in particular porosity, is essential for their effectiveness. Functionalized CNTs demonstrate enhanced dispersion within polymer matrices due to interactions between the functional groups and the polymer chains. The presence of CNTs greatly affects membrane morphology, leading to generally observed compaction and porosity. The membrane exhibits improved permeability (up to 50%) with minimal effects on salt retention properties.


The membrane displays good water permeability (improving permeability by 50%) with no effects on salt retention properties, decreasing the high-energy costs that are usually needed in water filtration applications. 

It contains randomly oriented CNTs, thus requiring much simpler preparation procedures.

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