FURI | Fall 2020

Electro-Spun Pretreatment Membranes for Heavy Metal Ions Removal

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Pretreatment membranes can be utilized for a wide variety of filtration applications and can remove biological to inorganic foulants. A promising strategy to produce pretreatment membranes is through electrospinning, which creates nanoscale, nonwoven fibrous mats of polymeric materials with an exceedingly high surface area to volume ratio. PVA (poly(vinyl alcohol)) is the choice polymer due to its common use in industry because of its high hydrophilicity properties. This fibrous mat can then be functionalized with L-arginine to increase the charged ammonium groups in the membrane. These charged groups will then improve ionic conductivity as well as thermal and chemical stability. After synthesizing this membrane the steps to cross link and to ​Quaternized​ the PVA can be interchangeable. Crosslinking the membrane would enhance the overall tensile strength and mechanical properties. While the Quaternization fabricates an anion-exchange and enhances hydrophilicity. Development of this membrane will lead to a mask that enables better screening of viral droplets. The proposed mask will also be reusable multiple times after washing it with alcohol. The proposed synthesis scheme is also “Green” and involves functionalizing a biocompatible polymer.

Student researcher

Salma Ly

Salma Ly

Chemical engineering


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