Low-cost, self-cleaning coating

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has collaborated on a project to advance the development of a low-cost, self-cleaning coating technology for industrial filter membranes.

The Smart Filter project used graphene and its derivatives to create a coated filter membrane that offers increased resistance to fouling for industrial waste water treatment.

Membrane filters are used in a number of industrial separation applications but are afflicted by fouling, which typically lowers throughput or increases energy consumption, and reduces filter life.

Focusing upon oil water separation and nuclear waste water treatment, the collaboration, with G2O Water Technologies Ltd, Haydale Ltd and Sellafield Ltd, developed a repeatable, reproducible and scalable process to make coated filter membranes, which delivered a 30% improvement in permeability when compared to an equivalent uncoated filter.

The principle of the coating technology had been demonstrated at lab scale and the Innovate UK-funded project enabled a significantly improved understanding of the underpinning science to be gained. This allowed the key manufacturing methods to be scaled to viable industrial processes.

During the project, CPI focused on understanding and developing the lab-scale technology that was transferred from the USA to the UK. CPI achieved a scalable coating process using ink jet printing and worked to understand process variables and their impact on product quality.

The project also allowed for significant progress to be made in advancing process technology for the safe and stable functionalisation of graphene species.


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