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Graphene-based membranes

By Paul Grad |

Graphene has received much attention as material for membranes due to its high surface area, high mechanical strength and chemical stability. Graphene-based membranes are also expected to exhibit much greater permeability than the current state-of-the-art membranes. However, it has been difficult to fabricate leak-free porous graphene membranes with large surface area; and besides, supported graphene is hydrophobic. Those limitations have led to the development of graphene oxide with oxygen-containing functional groups (–OH, –COOH) attached to both sides of the graphene flake. Researchers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (Singapore; www.np.edu.sg) and Newcastle University (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, U.K.; www.ncl.ac.uk) have reported a simple method for the fabrication of a graphene-based composite membrane for real downstream applications. To achieve this, they increased the graphene’s wettability to ultra-wetting level by incorporating amine and carboxyl functionality onto it. While graphene oxide attains an increased level of hydrophilicity via –COOH and –OH functional groups, the researchers chose a combination of –COOH and –NH2 functional groups instead to modify the graphene for use in water-filtration membrane applications. The…
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