Track-etched ultrafiltration polymer membranes produced by light ion irradiation
Makkonen-Craig, Stewart; Yashina, Ksenia; Paronen, Mikael (2014)
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Ultrafiltration (UF) membranes are central to filtration systems used extensively in industrial and communal water treatment processes and also in desalination pre-treatment. We have aimed to develop a new class of UF membranes with improved separation performance and efficiency, so to reduce substantially operational energy consumption and reliably remove targeted pollutants. A suitable alternative to conventional UF membranes are controlled micro- and nanostructured porous track etch membranes that could optimize the efficiency of UF modules tailored to specific separation processes. We developed a new approach to the ion irradiation and etching of polymers resulting in viable track etching using only ultralight ions. SEM imaging has confirmed the presence of etched pores consistent with other reported track etch membranes. This breakthrough in developing a new production method significantly reduces investment production costs because it only requires a common type of small accelerator than has low running costs, frequently available beamtime and capacity for high membrane production volume.