GOALI: Collaborative Research: Integrated Biomimetic Block Copolymer Composite Membranes

  • Kumar, Manish (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details




Notre Dame/Penn State

Mimicking biological membranes, which have developed innovative transport mechanisms through millennia of evolution, has gained increasing interest in recent years. In particular, biological membranes have embedded proteins that are capable of transporting chemical species into and out of cells efficiently and with exceptional selectivity. As such, developing membrane platforms that mimic the exquisite processes of biology provides a route toward performing many chemical separations that are critical to modern society (e.g., purification of drinking water). In order for these advanced membranes to make an impact on the chemical and biological separations the development of robust, high performance, composite membranes is required. These composite membranes comprise a biomimetic active layer containing membrane proteins supported mechanically by a highly-porous and permeable support layer. The generation of robust composite membranes, which realize the full potential of membrane proteins, requires that the active and support layers are integrated synergistically.

The goal of the proposed research project is to identify the key materials relationships that control the interplay between the nanostructures and chemistries of the copolymer supports and the biomimetic active layers in order to optimize the separations performance of composite biomimetic-block copolymer membranes (BBCMs). This novel class of membranes comprises a selective layer made from 2D crystals of membrane proteins and a support layer made from self-assembled copolymers.

The successful execution of this research project will deliver a transformative technology platform through an enhanced understanding of how to combine two self-assembled materials into a composite membrane relevant to a diversity of separations. Beyond the technical impact, a new generation of graduate, undergraduate, and high school students will be trained in a multi-disciplinary and collaborative setting. A summer camp for middle school students focused on water treatment will provide opportunities to bring this important application of membranes to a wider audience.

Effective start/end date8/15/157/31/18


  • National Science Foundation: $194,695.00


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