Polymers for Isoporous and Functional Membranes

Membrane fouling is still one of the major problems in aqueous membrane purification processes and biofilm formation is one of the most common forms of fouling. In this project we investigate several approaches to modify surface and bulk properties of membranes to reduce their fouling tendency. In collaboration with the team from the industrial partner BASF and CSIRO we developed a suite of antimicrobial and anti-adhesion UF membranes. Following comprehensive evaluation of antimicrobial additives in our laboratory, work on antimicrobial membranes was carried out by potential customers in pilot plant studies.

Superior performance of membranes modified with the in-house developed antimicrobial additives was maintained during long-term pilot plant studies using brackish river water. The number of required backwashes for the modified membrane was an order of magnitude less than the control. Additionally trans-membrane pressure for the modified membrane was significantly lower. Membrane performance was also tested when the feed was spiked with bacteria and modified membrane performed significantly better than control. We found insignificant depletion of antimicrobial active component from modified membrane during long-term pilot plan studies.

Research Team:  Jaleh Mansouri
                              Matthias Haeussler
                              Ezio Rizzardo

Funding body:     CRC for Polymers

Collaborators:      CSIRO

For more information, please contact Jaleh Mansouri