A recently published paper by CSP Investigator Stuart Rowan and his team studies the use of polymer grafted cellulose nanocrystals in the making of water filtration membranes.
Membrane filtration is a critical process in ensuring that water is clean and safe for human consumption. However, the current methods of making these membranes are expensive and consume a lot of energy. To develop more efficient and sustainable water filtration methods, Rowan and his team investigated polymer-grafted CNCs in the production of these membranes. They discovered that by controlling the amount of polymer attached to the CNCs and its arrangement, they could significantly enhance the membrane’s water filtration capability, from 3.5 liters per hour per square meter to 2900 liters per hour per square meter. These newly designed membranes also demonstrated an improved ability to filter out unwanted molecules of a certain size. Therefore, the new design permits water to pass through quickly while still keeping harmful substances out, thus enhancing the membrane’s overall effectiveness.