FunMem®, a versatile ceramic membrane - available with a broad variety of surface modifications

Article published on 09 August 2019 Roel Vleeschouwers

Ceramic membranes, made from inorganic materials such as, alumina, titania and zirconia oxides are chemically inert and feature high mechanical, thermal and hydrothermal stabilities. These membranes are known to be robust in extreme processing conditions such as temperature, corrosion or cleaning conditions and exhibit long lifetimes. That's why they are suitable for processes where thermal, mechanical and hydrothermal stability are required as well as in those applications where chemical resistance is necessary.

By means of chemical surface modification or functionalisation, the character of the membrane can be changed, providing e.g. a hydrophobic character, the creation of selective adsorption sites, anchoring positions for immobilisation, etc.

The surface-modification of ceramic membranes is usually accomplished by co-condensation reactions, grafting reactions and polymerization reactions.

Functionality, control with regard to the position of the functional groups and general stability of the membrane should be high, especially when used in harsh conditions. Unfortunately, it is often observed that unwanted and considerable leaching of organic functional group(s) from the membrane occurs.

FunMem® is a highly versatile, ceramic membrane, available with a broad variety of surface modifications. This functionalised membrane shows adequate thermal and hydrothermal stability with highly reduced leaching of grafted groups. The key to these characteristics is a direct covalent bond of one or more different organic functional moieties to the membrane surface. In particular, the organic functional moieties are directly bound covalently to a metal group on the surface. The typical M-C bond does not include an oxygen bridge, thereby providing highly stable organic-inorganic interfaces.

 

Cheaper with FUNMEM® membranes

 

Chiral molecules have two forms: they look the same, but in fact are each other’s mirror image, but this distinction is crucial. One form has the desired therapeutic effect, while the mirror image can result in life-threatening side effects. Metin Bulut: “Traditional chiral separation is done using chromatography, but this is expensive and time consuming, uses a lot of solvent and is detrimental to the environment. We are now examining whether we can perform chiral separations using FunMem® membranes. A test case for chiral amines has already shown that membrane separation is economically viable if we combine the right membranes. It’s promising for the pharmaceutical and chemical industry.”

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Roel Vleeschouwers Roel Vleeschouwers
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