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By Gerald Ondrey |

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Ultrathin membrane Researchers led by professors Hideto Matsuyama and Tomohisa Yoshioka at Kobe University’s Research Center for Membrane and Film Technology (Japan; www.research.kobe-u.ac.jp) have developed an ultrathin, fouling-resistant membrane that separates oil from water. Described in a recent issue of the J. of Materials Chemistry A, the membrane consists of a porous polyketone (PK) support with a 10-nm-thick silica layer applied to the top surface. The PK membrane is highly permeable to water due to the presence of large pores and a high porosity. The silica layer provides a strong oil-repellent coating to protect the membrane from fouling. The new membrane is able to reject 99.9% of oil droplets, including those with a size of 10 nm. A 1-m2 membrane operating at 1 atm pressure is capable of processing 6,000 L/h of wastewater, and has been shown to separate a wide range of oily emulsions.
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