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Developing NMR methods to characterise water transport through graphene-based membranes

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Graphene oxide membranes (GOMs) have shown significant promise as filtration devices since they are impermeable to many substances but not to water. Their tunable permeation properties, chemical inertness, fast permeation of water are a few examples of its unique features. Due to its unique atomic-scale sieving properties, GO membranes can even reject neutral molecules with a size larger than the sieve size, which is unachievable with conventional polymeric membranes. Even though several papers report fast permeation of water through GO membranes, the exact mechanism of permeation is not fully understood yet. This is important information for the scale-up of the membranes for applications. In this project, we aim to understand the water dynamics in GO and related membranes by using NMR methods.
In this project, it is proposed to develop Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) protocols able to monitor diffusion and dynamics of water (with its contaminants ions) across graphene-based membranes. Using such measurements it will be possible to quantify transport and surface dynamics over and across such membranes as well as monitor changes in structural parameters, most notably tortuosity of the material, as a function of usage by monitoring changes in diffusion coefficients.
The project will focus on studying water dynamics in graphene-based layered membranes. We will also investigate the effect of contaminant ions or molecules on the water dynamics , which will then be investigated exploiting low-field, compact, bench-top NMR methods (much more affordable and easy to manage than their high-field counterpart, hence appealing to the industrial sector as an accessible NMR tool for R&D and quality control tool) to probe changes in transport and structural properties during operation, how such properties are affected by synthesis procedures, material formulation and eventually fouling over time, hence assess the key issues to address for improving durability during operation.
The project will be jointly supervised by Dr Carmine D’Agostino (CEAS) and Prof. Rahul Raveendran Nair (CEAS and National Graphene Institute).

Applicants are required to have at least a 2.1 honours degree in Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering

Funding Notes

The project is for self-funded students or students able to secure external scholarships

How good is research at The University of Manchester in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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