Membrane synthesis and characterization

June 8, 2020

With development of novel membranes being a key focus of CMAT, the center is well-equipped with various tools and equipment for the fabrication of polymeric and mixed-matrix membranes, in both flat sheet and hollow fiber geometries, as well as coating techniques to modify membrane surface chemistry and morphology for increased flux and reduced fouling. Various tools such as casting knifes for phase inversion as well as electro-spinning are available for fabrication of membranes for a wide variety of applications, ranging from reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration to membrane distillation and forward osmosis. These fabrication tools are well-supported by essential equipment such as furnaces, sonicators and dryers etc.

The characterization of the fabricated membranes is vital for the accurate determination of membrane properties. For that reason, CMAT houses a wide-range of membrane characterization tools. Some of the important membrane parameters that can be characterized at CMAT include pore size distribution, surface energy, surface roughness and mechanical and thermal stability. This can help in identifying and optimizing membrane fabrication parameters to develop novel membranes with the most suitable characteristics.


Some of the noteworthy equipment under this facility are:

  • Electrospinning Setup (MECC Corporation, Japan): Nanofibers production for desalination, water treatment, catalysis and energy devices.
  • Spin Coater Chemate KW-4A Equipped with Hot Plate (Chemat Technologies, USA): Spin coater with 9.5” stainless steel coating bowl designed for substrates up to 6 in. to 8 in. in diameter. Dual speed/timer control, up to 8,000 rpm.
  • Automatic Film Applicator – Elcometer 4340 (Elcometer, USA): The membrane support is held securely in place on the machine and the machine spreads the polymer solution in a consistent and reproducible membrane across the surface.
  • Capillary Flow Porometry (Porous Materials Inc. USA): Fully automated through-pore analysis including bubble point, pore size distribution, mean flow pore size, and liquid, gas, Frazier, Gurley, and Rayl permeability.
  • Easy DROP Contact Angle Analyzer (KRÜSS GmbH, Germany): Contact angle measurements to determine hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity of the membranes.
  • Differential Scanning Calorimeter – Perkin Elmer DSC 4000 (Perkin Elmer, USA): Measurement of heats of fusion and crystallization, crystallinity and glass transition temperature of polymers as well as study of oxidation and other chemical reactions.
  • Thermal Gravimetric Analyzer – Perkin Elmer TGA 4000 (Perkin Elmer, USA): Evaluation of thermal stability of materials, study of combustion and oxidation reactions as well as thermogravimetric kinetics.