New water-based, recyclable membrane filters all types of nanoparticles

Separation technology is at the heart of water purification, sewage treatment, and materials reclamation, as well as numerous basic industrial processes. Membranes are used to separate out the smallest nanoscale particles, and even molecules and metal ions. Prof. Boris Rybtchinski and his group of the Weizmann Institute of Science's Department of Organic Chemistry have developed a new type of membrane that could extend the life of a separation system, lower its cost and, in some cases, increase its efficiency as well.

The membranes Prof. Rybtchinski and his group have created may be produced in different ways, with different materials, and they come together in water and contain water as a major component (the membranes are akin to hydrogels). The group's first-generation membranes were made of unique molecules that organize themselves into the membrane material. This property also enables the membrane to be easily recycled, and the particles trapped in the separation process to be reclaimed. The membranes can separate particles based on size, from one to several nanometers.

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