Membrane materials for water purification: Design, development, and application

Anna Lee, Jeffrey W. Elam, Seth B. Darling

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

305 Scopus citations


Water purification for human use, ecosystem management, agriculture, and industry is emerging as a leading global priority. Access to sufficient clean water ultimately requires improvements over the current state of water filtration technology. Membrane technologies for water purification have been actively pursued for decades, but with recent innovation of both analytical and fabrication tools, more advanced membrane technologies are surfacing. Here, we review the design, development, and application of new membrane materials, fabrication methods for controlling the filtration size regime, analytical tools for performance testing, and molecular modeling for transport and separation. Membrane chemical stability, fouling, and environmental impact as open questions are also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-42
Number of pages26
JournalEnvironmental Science: Water Research and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Use of the Center for Nanoscale Materials was supported by the U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under Contract No. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The authors gratefully acknowledge support from a University of Chicago-Argonne National Laboratory Water Initiative grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


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