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Biomimetic Desalination Membranes

Ben Schantz, Margaret Kowalik

Co-advised by Manish Kumar



Desalination has become an increasingly important way to provide potable water in dry or populous coastal regions. Membranes employing trans-membrane channel proteins could be substantially more permeable than current reverse-osmosis membranes, and achieve the same flux with less energy input. Bilayers created through self-assembly of block copolymers can incorporate these proteins and become efficient reverse-osmosis membranes.
Neutron scattering is used in conjunction with coarse-grained molecular dynamics to study the properties of these novel membranes. Neutron scattering can measure amphiphile block dimensions, probe polymer-protein aggregation kinetics, and corroborate coarse-grained simulation results.

Penn State Chemical Engineering

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