• Home
  • Kwon Article 2012

A. Kota, G. Kwon, W. Choi, J.M Mabry, A. Tuteja, “Hygro-responsive membranes for effective oil–water separation,” Nature Communications, vol. 3, p. 1025, 2012.

 

There is a critical need for new energy-efficient solutions to separate oil–water mixtures, especially those stabilized by surfactants. Traditional membrane-based separation technologies are energy-intensive and limited, either by fouling or by the inability of a single membrane to separate all types of oil–water mixtures. Here we report membranes with hygro-responsive surfaces, which are both superhydrophilic and superoleophobic, in air and under water. Our membranes can separate, for the first time, a range of different oil–water mixtures in a single-unit operation, with >99.9% separation efficiency, by using the difference in capillary forces acting on the two phases. Our separation methodology is solely gravity-driven and consequently is expected to be highly energy-efficient. We anticipate that our separation methodology will have numerous applications, including the clean-up of oil spills, wastewater treatment, fuel purification and the separation of commercially relevant emulsions.

 


KU Today
High school seniors can apply to the SELF Program, a four-year enrichment and leadership experience
Engineering students build concrete canoes, Formula race cars, unmanned planes, and rockets for competitions nationwide
More first and second place awards in student AIAA aircraft design contests than any other school in the world
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times