Professor Shao Lu’s Team from HIT’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Makes Significant Achievements in Ultrafast Molecular Separation Membranes Research


Reported by: School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Translated by: Qiao Xuechao
Edited by: D. Parker
Time: 2017/11/13

With financial aid from the National Science Foundation of China, Professor Shao Lu and his team from the State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, together with other scholars from home and abroad, published the paper “Towards Sustainable Ultrafast Molecular-Separation Membranes: from Conventional Polymers to Emerging Materials” in the international journal— Progress in Materials Science.  HIT was the first corresponding unit.  Professor Shao Lu and Dr. Cheng Xijin (currently at HIT Weihai District) are the first authors of the paper. Dr. Wang Zhenxing (currently Nanchang University) and Dr Jiang Xu also participated the writing of the paper.

Separation is a necessary step in industries like water treatment, biological pharmacy, food, agriculture, chemical engineering and petrochemical. It is the lifeblood for these industries’ sustainable development. The traditional separation process generally includes distilling, heterothermic/pressure swing adsorption and extraction technologies. These technologies are all energy intensive with huge carbon emissions.  These processes also contribute to secondary pollution, which greatly hinders the sustainable development and the future of these industries. By contrast, with the advantages of low energy consumption, high space utilization and no phase transitions during the process, membrane separation has attracted tremendous attention since its discovery.  Driven by innovative technology, membrane separation not only provides support for the upgrading and transformation of traditional industries, but also offers sustainable solutions to increasingly serious environmental and energy problems.

Targeting emerging ultrathin membrane separation materials and technology, this paper put forward the concept of ultrafast molecular separation (UMS) whose aperture size is between 0.5 to 5 nanometers.  It summarized the status of ultrafast molecular separation research. The concept of UMS, general performance and features, relevant fundamental theories of ultrafast molecular separation, preparation methods and key technology of UMS were introduced in this paper.  The materials, especially the emerging two-dimensional nano materials which can be used to prepare UMS were also discussed in this paper.  The paper also analyzed current problems faced by UMS and pictured the future of UMS, putting forward the direction of future research.

Professor Sha Lu’s team, which is devoted to the research of high-performance membrane separation in environment and energy, has obtained a series of significant achievements. In recent years, with HIT as a corresponding unit, Professor Shao Lu and his team have published several hot papers, cover stories and highly cited papers in Progress in Materials Science, Energy & Environmental Science, Journal of Membrane Science, Materials Horizons, Advanced Energy Materials, Progress in Polymer Science, and The Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

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