Development of polymer membranes

By far the majority of commercially available membranes are made of polymers. This class of materials offers convincing advantages in terms of cost, processability and a wide range of applications. 

 

Flat and hollow fiber membranes from laboratory to pilot scale

We work with both commercially available polymers and modified polymers (e.g. by sulfonation) as well as with (block co-)polymers produced in-house – by radical or anionic polymerization. 

 

Production of dense membranes

The manufacturing processes for porous membranes include both non-solvent-induced and thermally induced phase inversion. With the help of these processes, we produce membranes from cellulose derivatives, polysulfone, polyethersulfone, polyacrylonitrile, polyvinylidene fluoride and biopolymers, for example. For the production of dense membranes we use solvent evaporation processes. With their help, we manufacture, for example, Nafion®, sulfonated polyetheretherketone and polybenzimidazole membranes.

 

Process control and modifications 

To control pore size or to equip membranes with special properties, we use various additives such as hydrophilic polymers, conductivity enhancers, inorganic fillers and different fiber-based carriers. In addition, we have experience in replacing toxic (e.g. NMP, methanol) solvents by non-toxic ones..

Application areas of polymer membranes

Water purification

Forward osmosis membranes for gentle processing of complex mixtures.

Moisture management

Humidifier membranes for water management in mobile fuel cell systems.

Green membranes

New filtration membranes via phase inversion processes with green solvents.