Department Seminars: Modified flat-sheet, hollow-fiber and nano-fiber membranes for membrane distillation applications

Speaker Prof Mohamed Khayet Department of Structure of Matter, Thermal Physics and Electronics Faculty of Physics University Complutense of Madrid, Spain

Host Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Date/Time 17 Apr - 17 Apr, 4.00PM

Venue E5-02-32 , Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore


Different surface modification techniques such as coating, radiation graft polymerization and plasma polymerization are used to modify the structural characteristics and chemical properties of different types of membranes. In general, these techniques involve more steps during membrane fabrication line increasing their cost and changing their surface physical structure of (e.g. change of the pore shape reducing its size or even closing it).

15 years ago we proposed the use of surface modifying macromolecules (SMMs) for the preparation of porous composite hydrophobic/hydrophilic membranes (i.e. porous, dense, flat sheet and hollow fiber membranes), without any post-fabrication step, for different processes and environmental applications especially desalination by membrane distillation (MD) technology. Because of its low Gibbs free energy compared to the host hydrophilic polymer, SMM migrate to the air/membrane interface during its formation changing its surface chemistry while leaving its bulk properties intact. Various types of SMM modified membranes have been prepared using different hydrophilic host polymers and fluorinated SMMs synthesized with different formulations (i.e. variety of combinations of monomers and stoichiometries). Recently, attempts are made to modify polymeric nanofiber by SMMs and prepare electrospun nanotextured MD membranes.

In the present seminar, first I will give a brief and general introduction on MD including a historical survey, the characteristics required for an MD membrane, case studies of SMM modified flat sheet and hollow fiber membranes, and finally present the challenging SMM modified electrospun nanofibrous membranes intended for, but not limited to, MD desalination.


Prof. Mohamed Khayet: Director of the University Complutense of Madrid (UCM) Research Group “Membranes and Renewable Energy” affiliated to Campus Moncloa of International Excellence (Madrid, Spain); Full Professor at the Faculty of Physics (UCM) and Associated Researcher in IMDEA Water (Madrid Institute of Advanced Studies on Water, Spain). He got his Ph.D. (1997) in Physics from the UCM. He realized various research stays in different international institutions (Industrial Membrane Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada; Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology in Warsaw, Poland; Centre for Clean Water Technologies at the University of Nottingham in UK, etc.). He is an expert on membrane science and nanotechnology. He has coordinated various national and international projects funded by different institutions (EU, Middle East Desalination Research Center, Spanish Ministries; Companies such as Abengoa Water, etc.) and published over 170 papers since 2000 in international journals with 8784 total citations and an H-index of 54 (Google Scholar). He filed 6 International Patents and published 3 books on membrane science and technology. Among other awards, he received the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) in 2012 for his novel and creative works on membrane distillation technology that he has studied and promoted in all its theoretical and experimental aspects (from membrane synthesis to implementation). He served as Associate Editor of “Desalination”, “Water and Desalination Research Journal” and “Journal of Applied Water Science” and as member of the Editorial Board of various journals: “Applied Membrane Science & Technology”, “Desalination”, “Membrane Water Treatment (MWT)”, “Membranes”, “Polymers”, “Applied Sciences” , “Journal of Materials Science and Nanotechnology”, “Journal of Membrane Science and Research”, “Scholarena Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology”, “Nano Research & Applications”, etc. His research experience and expertise include among others the design, preparation, modification and characterization of different types of membranes (flat sheet, hollow fiber and nanotextured membranes) for different membrane processes (Membrane distillation, ultra- & nano-filtration, forward osmosis, pervaporation, etc.), nanocomposites, development of theoretical models, optimization (RSM, ANN), fouling, desalination, solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, thermal conductivity and diffusivity of phase change materials (PCMs) & nanofluids.