Polymer membranes

By far, most of the commercially available membranes are made of polymer. This class of materials offers convincing advantages, like cost, processibility and broad range of applications. Polymers, we are working with, comprise commercially available ones, their modifications by e.g. sulfonation and self-made (block-co-) polymers by radical polymerization or anionic polymerization. We develop polymer membranes in flat and hollow fiber geometry starting from lab scale and going up to a pilot scale.

Processes for the manufacturing of porous membranes include both non-solvent and thermally induced phase inversion. In that case we have established processes for e.g. cellulose derivates, polysulfone, polyethersulfone, polyacrylnitril, polyvinylidenfluoride and biopolymers.

For the manufacturing of dense membranes we use solvent evaporation process and apply such process for e.g. Nafion®, sulfonated polyetheretherketone and polybenzimidazole membranes.

To control pore size or to introduce special properties we can use various additives like hydrophilic agents, conductivity enhancers, inorganic fillers and reinforcements. In addition, we have expertise in the replacement of toxic solvents (e.g. NMP, methanol) by non-toxic ones.

Our research

New membranes for pressure-retarded osmosis power plants

Fraunhofer IGB develops semi-permeable membranes to be used in osmotic power plants for the generation of emission-free energy.

Membranes for humidification

Membranes for humidification or dehumification applications, for the dehydration of gases and for air conditioning of buildings.

Hollow fiber membranes for blood purification

Functionalized hollow fiber membranes for single-stage dialysis.