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Comment Separation Processes

Multilayer membrane for climate control

By Mary Page Bailey |

A triple-layer, porous membrane system developed at the Functional Materials Laboratory at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (www.fml.ethz.ch) can be fashioned into evaporative curtains to cool and humidify indoor spaces, potentially decreasing the energy demand for climate-control systems. Juxtaposing opposite forces — in this case, layering a hydrophilic membrane layer between two hydrophobic outer layers — allows a water film to remain stabilized between the dry outer layers. “This open, porous system lets the water film evaporate outward on both sides of the materials. At the same time, the inner porous system is able to refill itself from a water reservoir,” explains Mario Stucki, the lead developer of this technology. “The immense heat of evaporation of water cools the membrane’s surroundings,” he continues. The triple-layer membrane materials are assembled via the template removal method, in which hard template particles made from soluble salts are dispersed as templates in dissolved polymer solutions. When the solution is spread, and the solvent is removed, a solid, multiphase layer is produced. This base layer is then coated with an additional layer of liquid dispersion, resulting in the formation…
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