Affiliation: School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Hanyang University, 222 Wangsimni-ro, Seongdonggu, Seoul 133-792, Republic of Korea.
Membranes play a critical role in gas separation, resource recovery, advanced water treatment, and wastewater recycling. However the demands placed on membranes used in these applications include relatively aggressive conditions arising from a diverse composition of materials presented to the membranes with extensive bacterial activity, mechanical stress, and a range of chemicals used to clean membranes. Advances in membrane composition and coating are required to meet these demands. The proposed effort addresses this need in developing new membrane materials and surface treatments based on advances in nano-chemistry designed to increase membrane strength, reduce fouling, and improve performance. While the most intense areas of research in recent decades focused on the incorporation of advanced materials to the currently available membranes to improve their performance, recent studies introduced an impressive breakthrough toward application of novel nanostructured materials that can outperform the existing membranes due to their superior performance and low energy requirements. This paper provides an overview of recent advances in nano-hybrid membranes (NHMs) and their potential applications for advanced water treatment. Furthermore, the key challenges in their full-scale applications and the research needs for overcoming these barriers are also discussed.