Project Title: Energy-efficient nanoengineered membrane distillation desalination
Access to safe and high quality water remains one of the only “grand challenges” whose issues are getting worse, not better. This project works on fabricating nanoengineered membranes via the technique called “inverse opals” for a wide range of applications. This enables incredibly uniform membrane structure that give consistent pore sizes and “photonic crystal” optical properties. We are using these optical properties to to enhance photocatalysis to degrade dangerous pollutants. We are using the consistent pore size to achieve high selectivity for particles, which we are applying to improve HIV and cholera sensors. Beyond photocatalysis and nanofiltration, this fabrication method will also be applied to absorb solar light to improve the efficiency of membrane distillation desalination. Working in this project, the students will not only get experience in nanofabrication and material characterization, but also help enable the membranes into applications.
Depending on the research progress, the students might:
- help with the membrane fabrication via sol-gel/opal co-assembly method, anodization method, electrospinning method, and casting method to fabricate silica or titania membrane;
- or help with the associated membrane measurement, including photocatalytic properties, porosity and permeation properties;
- or help with the membrane characterization, using optical microscope, SEM and etc.
Grading Criteria: “A” will be given to students that are able to conduct experiments as scheduled and well organize the experimental results; are able to find the knowledge from literature under the guidance of the mentor, and analyze the results with critical thinking.
Credit Hours: 3
Workload Hours Per Week: 10