Membranes

Technical membranes can be used wherever mixtures of substances need to be separated. The core competences at Fraunhofer IGB are the shaping and the functional coating of membranes. In this innovation field, we develop both hollow-fiber and flat membranes using phase inversion processes, we are furthermore able to manufacture them from laboratory to pilot scale. In addition, we have established a wide range of roll-to-roll coating processes (wet chemical, plasma processes) to optimize the separation or fouling properties of membranes. For the development of new membranes, we also have extensive know-how in material synthesis (polymers, ceramics) and the characterization of materials, surfaces and membranes. With the available test rigs we carry out application studies for our partners in the fields of activity listed below.

Fields of Activity and Technologies

  • Humidifier membranes for fuel cells
  • Hollow-fiber membranes made of mixed conducting ceramics
  • Gas separation with mixed matrix membranes
  • Osmosis membranes for FO, PRO, RO
  • Filtration membranes (MF, UF, NF, membrane adsorbers)
  • Ionomer membranes for electrolysis and fuel cells

Fields of research

 

Membrane materials

Polymer materials offer convincing advantages, like cost, processibility and broad range of applications. Polymers, we are working with, comprise commercially available ones, their modifications and self-made (block-co-) polymers by e.g. radical polymerization. Polymer membranes can be further optimized by adding particle fillers to come to tailor-made mixed-matrix membranes. If the application requires more extreme conditions e.g. regarding temperature we are working with full ceramic membranes.

 

Membrane processing

Fraunhofer IGB uses various methods to produce different types of membranes up to a pilot scale. Hollow fiber membranes are manufactured by wet spinning, flat membranes by casting and capillary membranes are formed by melt-spinning. To further enhance separation properties membranes can be modified by various coating techniques, like wet chemical coating, plasma modification, interfacial polymerization, sol-gel methods or electroless plating. We have the equipment to apply continuous roll-to-roll coatings both for hollow fiber and flat membranes.

 

Membrane applications

Membranes are widely used in various fields of application, like waste water treatment, gas separation or forward osmosis. Furthermore membranes find use in fuel cells, in downstream processing, in the biomedical field or as membrane reactors. In all fields we have devices to test and qualify membranes. So, we have the possibilities to develop and optimize membranes in an application orientated environment.