The proposed project aims to deliver highly efficient and selective polymer membranes for water purification via rational design and synthesis. Among the interesting properties, we plan to uncover (1) the role of ordered structure in solvent flux and fouling control, (2) a tunable internal surface area and pore size distribution, and (3) the generality in synthetic inclusion of different pores into the polymer membrane. The planned synthesis potentially results in various polymers and/or membranes with high surface area and pre-designed network structures. These materials will be tested for their ability in removal of water pollutants via nano/ultra-filtration. This work provides an experimental strategy to develop a new insight in exploring high-performance membrane materials for water purification applications. This investigation will be part of a larger active research on the development of efficient polymers and/or membranes for water purification and desalination applications.
The key outcomes of the project will be to generate new chemistries towards porous polymeric materials and develop a library of valuable membranes to support nano/ultra-filtration water purification. The primary role of the student is to conduct the designed experiments to synthesize a series of polymers/membranes and their complete characterizations including photophysical properties. Based on the screening, lead polymers will be tested for their water purification performance. The student will have hands-on experience in material synthesis, characterizations, and water purification membrane process.