NER: Dendrimer-Filled Mesoporous Membranes for Environmentally Relevant Separations

Grant Details




David Ford, Texas A&M University

This project seeks to synthesize and evaluate organic-inorganic hybrid membranes with a novel hierarchical nanostructure. The basic frameworks are mesoporous inorganic membranes with average pore sizes ranging from 2 to 20 nanometers. These membranes are chemically modified with dendrimers, either as ultra-thin supported films or as fillers that attach to the interior porous surfaces. Dendrimers are highly branched, monodisperse polymers with dimensions ranging from one to a few dozen nanometers; their high surface-group density and tunable chemistry allows one to create membranes that are highly selective for various gas-phase species of interest. Other design variables such as pore size, dendrimer size, and dendrimer surface coverage allow further control of membrane performance. Thus, these unique nano-architectures afford a degree of simultaneous control over both the chemistry and free volume of the membrane that is difficult to achieve with purely polymeric or purely inorganic materials.

The goal of this project is to apply scientific and engineering concepts at the nanometer scale to create membranes of novel composition and structure. Such membranes can perform environmentally important separations, such as the removal of volatile organic compounds from air, more efficiently than current techniques. This will result in a cleaner environment at a lower cost. Furthermore, the project provides an excellent opportunity for a collaboration that crosses the boundaries between Colleges (Engineering and Science) and disciplines (separations and synthetic organic chemistry).

Effective start/end date08/1/0107/31/02


  • National Science Foundation: $100,000.00


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