Two-dimensional (2D) materials of atomic thickness have emerged as nano-building blocks to develop high-performance separation membranes that feature unique nanopores and nanochannels. These 2D-material membranes exhibit extraordinary permeation properties, opening a new avenue to ultra-fast and highly selective membranes for water and gas separation. As such, membrane-based technologies for water purification and desalination have been increasingly applied to address the global challenges of water scarcity and the pollution of aquatic environments. However, progress in water purification membranes has been constrained by the inherent limitations of conventional polymeric membrane materials. Herein, we proposed a novel nano-mesh 2D material for efficient water desalination membranes. The sub nanometer pores in 2D materials provides passage to the water molecules and prohibit the ion transport. Well-controlled, high-density sub-nanometer pores will be created in the highly crystalline 2D materials to form nano-mesh 2D materials. This nano-mesh 2D material will be transformed into a membrane using wet-filtration zipping technology. The membrane performance in water desalination will be evaluated by employing Reverse Osmosis (RO). Our approach to fabricate the nano-mesh 2D material and its membrane using wet-filtration zipping technology can be concatenated with the current cellulose paper manufacturing technology, thereby possessing a huge industrial potential. It is expected that nano-mesh 2D material membranes will drive the water desalination to its maximum extent, resolving the global and regional water crisis effectively. Furthermore, the research objectives allow revealing fundamental aspects of novel nano-mesh 2D materials, water desalination using nano-mesh 2D material membranes, and set a benchmark for the design and development of more efficient advanced membranes and facilities.
This project aligns the University research vertical “Water and Environment” and research horizontal “Advanced Materials and Manufacturing”. The successful implementation of nano-mesh 2D membranes in large-scale industrial processes will promote a paradigm shift in the water desalination of sea water, and stimulate future research in water treatment and desalination, dialysis, gas separation, fuel cells, as well as emission conversion.