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Desalination & Water Treatment

Membrane Fouling & Control

Fouling of membranes by colloids, inorganic salts, organic compounds and microorganisms is ubiquitous in different types of feed waters such as brackish and seawater. The consequences are a significant decline in overall process efficiency resulting in enhanced operation and maintenance costs. Membrane surface modification by the facile deposition of antifouling coatings is a promising strategy for fouling control and prevention. Research in this area is focused on the synthesis and application of a variety of polymeric (silanes, zwitterions, copolymers, etc.) and oxide (graphene, titania, etc.) thin films for mitigation of fouling in reverse osmosis membranes. In addition, eco-friendly membrane cleaning technologies for performance remediation are also investigated in collaboration with industrial enterprise.

Membrane Fouling and its Control

Oil-Water Separation

The uncontrolled discharge of large volumes of oily wastewater from a variety of industries and produced water from oil refineries presents a major environmental hazard as well as wastage of potential water resources. Recently, oil-water separation using engineered membranes with superwetting surface characteristics has attracted the attention of scientists and researchers worldwide. Our group in DWT focuses on the fabrication of superhydrophobic/superoleophilic (or vice versa) microporous membranes using facile synthesis techniques such as dip- and spray-coating, layer by layer assembly and nanoparticle deposition. The synthesized membranes are then characterized using an array of advanced techniques such as FESEM, XPS, FTIR and CA goniometery to study the alterations in surface morphology, chemistry and wettability. Custom-designed laboratory-scale setups are then utilized to determine the separation efficiency of the membranes for different types of oils and organics from water.

Advanced Materials for Water Treatment

The provision of clean and potable water in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner has been identified as the challenge of the 21st century. In this regard, the pollution of fresh and ground water sources by a variety of organic and pathogenic contaminants represents a major obstacle in overcoming this challenge. Work in this area focuses on the facile synthesis of metallic, ceramic and composite nanoparticles that are then utilized for degradation of organic dyes, deactivation of microorganisms, etc. The engineered materials are also used in conjunction with UV light (photocatalysis) to enhance their disinfection capabilities.

To know about our laboratory capabilities in Desalination and Water Treatment, please visit Desalination and Water Treatment Laboratories