CMAT researchers cultivate learning opportunities: A visiting student, Ms. Hanaa Baniowda, hosted by CMAT participated in exciting membrane research

August 19, 2020

Ms. Hanaa Baniowda, from An-Najah National University, Palestine spent the summer assisting CMAT Research Scientist, Dr. Mahendra Kumar for a three-month internship. The collaboration and internship opportunity has produced high-quality research that is currently being considered in a high-impact factor journal. During the internship, she was trained on membrane fabrication, nanomaterial synthesis and material characterization.

The world constantly confronts an intensified problem of water scarcity, partly due to contamination of many existing freshwater sources. Membrane-based separation processes such as ultrafiltration (UF) are instrumental in handling polluted surface water from different sources, and producing good quality drinking water.

Nonetheless, membrane processes used in such applications suffer from fouling issues, caused by compounds such as natural organic matter (NOM) in water. In this research, high performance hybrid UF membranes with charge tunable channels were fabricated. The hybrid membranes were synthesized with functionalized polymer chains grafted on graphene oxide nanosheets. These membranes were observed to exhibit superior flux, fouling resistance and NOM retention performance. This research would potentially pave way for the development of other types of functionalized polymer chains grafted nanofillers for membrane fabrication.