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Fabrication and Evaluation of Carbon Nanotube Membranes for the Separation of Organic and Inorganic Micropollutants

English title Fabrication and Evaluation of Carbon Nanotube Membranes for the Separation of Organic and Inorganic Micropollutants
Applicant Park Hyung Gyu
Number 137964
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Energietechnik ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Mechanical Engineering
Start/End 01.01.2012 - 31.12.2015
Approved amount 188'144.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Mechanical Engineering
Material Sciences
Other disciplines of Engineering Sciences

Keywords (4)

Water purification; Micropollutants removal; Carbon nanotube; Membrane

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Limited access to clean water defines one of the global sustainability issues facing humanity today. Growing concerns of freshwater feeding to a significant portion of the world population are calling for immediate attention from science and technology, centered around efficient seawater desalination and purification. Although many diseases are related to hygienic aspects, the presence of pollutants in water resources poses an increasing problem, not only in industrialized countries but also in developing countries and transition countries where wastewater treatment often is partially or completely failing. Compared with disinfection of nutrients and organic matter (macropollutants) in water for which existing technologies are well functioning, the removal of many other types of dissolved pollutants is rather challenging primarily because of their vast range of compounds (over 30,000), low concentration (in picogram to nanogram per liter) and diverse characteristics. With such existing challenges in detection and removal, the detrimental influence of these micropollutants can threaten not only human health but also aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity. To safeguard our society from such threatening sources in the water system, it is imperative to understand the behavior of micropollutants in the water purification process and to find an effective way of getting rid of them. This project will explore a nanoscientific solution to address this issue. In particular, we will study interaction between micropollutants and novel water purification membranes for which carbon nanotubes serve as pores.

In our viewpoint, carbon nanotube is a molecular-scale straw. Previous findings about the interior of carbon nanotube as water passage revealed ultrafast water transport and filtration capability. Such a rare combination efficient filtration places a membrane made out of carbon nanotube pores at a unique position to address micropollutant removal in our water system. This project aims to characterize and understand the mechanisms of micropollutant separation in the carbon nanotube membranes. The membranes will be fabricated via multiscale manufacturing, followed by chemical addition and physical modification to impart micropollutant removal functions. Interaction of a series of micropollutants in aqueous solution with such a functional nano-membrane will be chemically analyzed and characterized. Understandings of the optimum water transport and filtration properties will not only lead us to basic scientific achievement but also to improvement in rational design of the nano-membrane toward better performance for micropollutants removal.          

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Novel Graphene Membranes - Theory and Application
(2016), Novel Graphene Membranes - Theory and Application.
Understanding the Interaction between Energetic Ions and Freestanding Graphene towards Practical 2D Perforation
(2016), Understanding the Interaction between Energetic Ions and Freestanding Graphene towards Practical 2D Perforation.
Carbon Nanofluidics of Rapid Water Transport for Energy Applications
(2014), Carbon Nanofluidics of Rapid Water Transport for Energy Applications, in Chemical Society Reviews .
Confined Water in Carbon Nanotubes and its Applications
(2014), Confined Water in Carbon Nanotubes and its Applications.
Temperature Gradient Chemical Vapor Deposition of Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes
(2014), Temperature Gradient Chemical Vapor Deposition of Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes, in Carbon.
Ultimate Permeation Across Atomically Thin Porous Graphene
(2014), Ultimate Permeation Across Atomically Thin Porous Graphene, in Science.
Carbon Micronymhaea: Graphene on Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes
(2013), Carbon Micronymhaea: Graphene on Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes, in Journal of Nanomaterials.
Facile Diameter Control of Vertically Aligned, Narrow Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes
(2013), Facile Diameter Control of Vertically Aligned, Narrow Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes, in RSC Advances.
Morphological Evolution of Fe-Mo Bimetallic Catalysts for Diameter and Density Modulation of Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes
(2013), Morphological Evolution of Fe-Mo Bimetallic Catalysts for Diameter and Density Modulation of Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes, in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C.
Role of Gas-phase Reactions and Thermal Gradient Control in Carbon Nanotube Synthesis
(2012), Role of Gas-phase Reactions and Thermal Gradient Control in Carbon Nanotube Synthesis, in MRS Spring Meeting.
Understanding the Interaction between Energetic Ions and Freestanding Graphene towards Practical 2D Perforation
, Understanding the Interaction between Energetic Ions and Freestanding Graphene towards Practical 2D Perforation, in Nanoscale.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
AIXTRON Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
KAIST Korean Republic (South Korea) (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Korea University Korean Republic (South Korea) (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Porifera United States of America (North America)
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
EMPA Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Eawag Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Gordon Research Conference Talk given at a conference Permeation and Selectivity of Membranes out of Low-dimensional Nanomaterials and Manufacturing 31.07.2016 Colby-Sawyer College, NH, United States of America Park Hyung Gyu;
Verhandungen der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft (80th Annual Meeting of the DPG) Talk given at a conference Evolution of mono- and bilayer graphene in chemical vapor deposition & the thinnest feasible porous membranes for ultimate mass transport 06.03.2016 Regensburg, Germany Park Hyung Gyu;
PACIFICHEM Talk given at a conference Mass Transport under Graphitic Nanoconfinement, Continuous and Discontinuous 15.12.2015 Honolulu, HI, United States of America Park Hyung Gyu;
University of Cincinnatti Seminar Individual talk From Synthesis to Plasmonic and Nanofluidic Applications of Low Dimensional Carbon Nanomaterials 06.11.2015 Cincinnatti, OH, United States of America Park Hyung Gyu;
Air Force Research Laboratory Seminar Individual talk From Synthesis to Plasmonic and Nanofluidic Applications of Low Dimensional Carbon Nanomaterials 05.11.2015 Dayton, OH, United States of America Park Hyung Gyu;
EuroCVD 20 Talk given at a conference Evolution of Mono- and Bilayer Graphene in Chemical Vapor Deposition 13.07.2015 Sempach, Switzerland Park Hyung Gyu;
Graphene Week 2015 Talk given at a conference Ultimate Mass Permeation across Two-dimensional Porous Graphene 22.06.2015 Manchester, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Park Hyung Gyu;
EWI Technology Workshop 2015 – Graphene for Desalination: the Path Forward Talk given at a conference Ultimate Permeation across a Graphene-based Membrane 15.06.2015 Singapore, Singapore Park Hyung Gyu;
North American Membrane Society Meeting Talk given at a conference Liquid Flow across Graphene Membranes 01.06.2015 Boston, United States of America Buchheim Jakob;
European Materials Research Society Meeting Talk given at a conference Ultimate Permeation across Atomically Thin Porous Graphene 11.05.2015 Lille, France Park Hyung Gyu;
Houston Methodist Research Institute Seminar Individual talk Thinnest Feasible Membrane for Ultimate Permeation 15.04.2015 Houston, TX, United States of America Park Hyung Gyu;
ECI-Advanced Membrane Technology VI: Water, Energy, and New Frontiers Talk given at a conference Carbon Nanofluidics of Fast Water Transport under Graphitic Nanoconfinements 08.02.2015 Sicily, Italy Park Hyung Gyu;
Kookmin University Seminar Individual talk Ultimate Mass Permeation across Two-Dimensional Porous Graphene 26.01.2015 Seoul, Korean Republic (South Korea) Park Hyung Gyu;
KAIST EEWS Seminar Individual talk Ultimate Mass Permeation across Two-Dimensional Porous Graphene 15.01.2015 Daejeon, Korean Republic (South Korea) Park Hyung Gyu;
1st Erwin Schrödinger Symposium 2014 of the Erwin Schrödinger Society for Nanosciences Talk given at a conference Ultimate Mass Permeations Across Two-Dimensional Porous Graphene 26.11.2014 Vienna, Austria Park Hyung Gyu;
Membrane Science and Technology for Water – Workshop Sponsored by KAUST-OCRF Talk given at a conference Thinnest Feasible Membrane for Ultimate Permeation 17.11.2014 Thuwal, Saudi Arabia Park Hyung Gyu;
Department of Physics Seminar Talk given at a conference Nanofluidic Transport under Continuous and Discontinuous Graphitic Confinements 03.11.2014 Bielefeld, Germany Park Hyung Gyu;
SPIE Optics + Photonics Talk given at a conference Femtomolar Molecular Detection with CNT based SERS Substrate 17.08.2014 San Diego, United States of America Park Hyung Gyu;
Gordon Research Conference Poster Ultimate Permeation Across Atomically Thin Porous Graphene 06.07.2014 New London, NH, United States of America Park Hyung Gyu;
The 19th Korean Nanotube Workshop Talk given at a conference From Synthesis to Plasmonic and Nanofluidic Applications of Low Dimensional Carbon Nanomaterials 13.02.2014 Mooju, Korean Republic (South Korea) Park Hyung Gyu;
HKUST Seminar Talk given at a conference From Synthesis to Plasmonic and Nanofluidic Applicationf of Low Dimensional Carbon Nanomaterials 10.02.2014 Clear Water Bay, Kowloon, Hongkong Park Hyung Gyu;
EEWS Seminar Individual talk Carbon Nanofluidics of Rapid Water Transport for Energy Applications 18.12.2013 Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water and Sustainability, Korea Advanced Institute of Scienc, Korean Republic (South Korea) Park Hyung Gyu;
KIMM seminar Individual talk Mass Transport in Carbon Nanotubes 18.12.2013 Korea Institute of Machinery & Materials (KIMM), Daejeon, Korean Republic (South Korea) Park Hyung Gyu;
The 8th International Conference on Advanced Materials and Devices (ICAMD) Talk given at a conference Carbon Nanotubes as Nanoscale Mass Conduits 11.12.2013 Ramada Renaissance Hotel, Jeju, Korean Republic (South Korea) Park Hyung Gyu;
Department of Electrical Engineering Seminar Individual talk Syntheses and Plasmonic and Nanofluidic Applications of Low Dimensional Carbon Nanomaterials 10.12.2013 Yonsei University, Seoul, Korean Republic (South Korea) Park Hyung Gyu;
The Swiss-Kyoto Symposium Talk given at a conference Mass Transport in Graphitic Nanoenvironment 21.11.2013 ETH Zurich, Switzerland Park Hyung Gyu;
Treffpunkt Science City Talk given at a conference Clean water 17.11.2013 ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland Park Hyung Gyu;
Gwangju Institute of Science & Technology Seminar Individual talk Water Transport in Carbon Nanotubes 11.10.2013 Gwangju Institute of Science & Technology, Gwangju, Korean Republic (South Korea) Pronk Wouter; Park Hyung Gyu;
KIST-EAWAG JOINT SYMPOSIUM Talk given at a conference Water Transport in Carbon Nanotubes 10.10.2013 Center for Water Resource Cycle, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul, Korean Republic (South Korea) Pronk Wouter; Park Hyung Gyu;
Arbeitsseminar, Institut fuer Festkoerperphysik, Wintersemester 2012/13 Individual talk Mass Transport in Carbon Nanotubes 24.01.2013 University of Ulm, Germany, Germany Park Hyung Gyu;
MP0901 3rd Annual Scientific Meeting 2012 Talk given at a conference Introduction to Carbon Nanofluidics 11.12.2012 Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, Wilhelm-Conrad-Röntgen-Campus, Berlin, Germany, Germany Park Hyung Gyu;
MIT Seminar (Host: Prof. Michael Strano) Talk given at a conference Mass Transport under Graphitic Nanoconfinement 03.08.2012 Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT, United States of America Park Hyung Gyu;
Carbon2012 the Annual World Conference on Carbon Talk given at a conference Role of Gas-phase Reactions and Thermal Gradient Control in Carbon Nanotube Synthesis 19.06.2012 Krakow, Poland, Poland Park Hyung Gyu;
Swiss NanoConvention 2012 Talk given at a conference Functional Nano-Membranes for Water Purification and Desalination: Synthesis & Optimization 23.05.2012 Beaulieu, Lausanne, Switzerland, Switzerland Park Hyung Gyu;
NATO Advanced Research Workshop: Alternative Water Resources in Arid Areas by retrieving Water from Secondary Sources Talk given at a conference Confined Water in Carbon Nanotubes and its Applications 08.05.2012 Daniel Dead Sea Hotel, Israel, Israel Park Hyung Gyu;
2012 MRS Spring Meeting Talk given at a conference Thermal Gradient CVD of VA-CNT Synthesis 11.04.2012 San Francisco, CA. U.S.A., United States of America Park Hyung Gyu;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Treffpunkt Science City Talk 17.11.2013 ETH Zurich, Switzerland Park Hyung Gyu;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
146856 Diameter Modulated, Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotubes by Temperature Gradient Chemical Vapor Deposition 01.04.2013 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Membranes based on Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) have been developed within our consortium. Such membranes provide unique separation properties and show mass transport rates up to an order of magnitude larger than conventional membranes. CNT membranes have been investigated mainly for seawater desalination purposes. However, the pore size is still not small enough for that application. Furthermore, the energy consumption of sea water desalination can only be reduced marginally by using more efficient membranes, because the energy consumption is dominated by the thermodynamic barrier for removing the salt from water. Our present project focuses on the application of CNT membranes for the removal of micropollutants from sweet water sources. An increasing number of organic and inorganic micropollutants are found in water resources and need to be removed either at the source or at the point of intake. Having small pores comparable to nanofiltration membranes and an ultrafast water transport property, CNT membranes promise to achieve a breakthrough in energy-efficient nanofiltration at low pressures. Potentially, this would also open the possibility of applying nanofiltration in conditions where only limited energy is available and reduce the process costs substantially so that such process become viable for developing and transition countries. For the successful removal of micropollutants from water sources, it is essential to understand the micropollutants’ interaction with carbon nanotube pores during the filtration. To this end, we present an organized plan to make orchestrated efforts between experiments and theories by three different research groups: CNT membrane construction (Prof. Park, ETHZ), environmental & separation science (Dr. Pronk, Eawag), and MD simulation (Prof. Koumoutsakos, ETHZ). While water transport in CNT membranes takes place in a nearly frictionless way, minimizing interaction with the CNT wall, the important question to answer is what the transport mechanism is of different classes micropollutants, and if the membrane properties can be adjusted in such a way that optimum transport and separation properties can be achieved. In the first stage of the project, molecular dynamics (MD) models for CNT (already available in Koumoutsakos’ group) will be adapted for micropollutant separation. In parallel, a first generation of CNT membranes will be fabricated and tested for the separation of different classes of micropollutants. The resulting information on separation properties will used to identify strategies to further optimize the structure of the membranes, which can be done either by atomic layer deposition, by chemical addition of surface charges, or by a combination of both. We will use these modified membranes in a series of experiments in order to study the various effects of micropollutant properties such as electrostatic charge and hydrophobicity of the molecules. Also, separation measurements will be carried out with homologous sets of organic, acidic and inorganic compounds with increasing molecular weights, as well as a range of organic and inorganic micropollutants representing a broad spectrum of physicochemical properties. Also these data will be simulated using MD. Outcomes of the experiments and the modeling will lead to a profound understanding of mechanisms of micropollutant transport and separation. These results will be evaluated, and based on the refined MD model, the separation characteristics of hypothetical new membrane configurations will be simulated. This information will be intensively discussed within the consortium and a decision on the design of a second generation of CNT membranes will be taken. Also these membranes will be characterized experimentally and modeled using MD. Finally, also the second generation of membranes will be chemically modified to produce membranes with optimum separation characteristics. Furthermore, addition of matrix compounds found in natural waters, such as humic acids, will lead to simulation of realistic water conditions and investigation of fouling effects.
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