Dr. Wanqin Jin is a professor of Chemical Engineering at Nanjing Tech University, Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry, the Deputy-director of the State Key laboratory of Materials-oriented Chemical Engineering and the Chief-scientist of the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) and Major Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). He received his Ph.D. from Nanjing University of Technology in 1999. He was a research associate at Institute of Materials Research &Engineering of Singapore (2001), an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow (2001-2013), visiting professors at Arizona State University (2007) and Hiroshima University (2011, JSPS invitation fellowship). His currently research focuses on the development of membrane materials and processes. He has published over 300 refereed journal publications including Nature, Nat. Rev. Mater., Nat. Comm., Adv. Mater., Angew. Chem., J. Am. Chem. Soc., AIChE J., J. Membr. Sci., Chem. Eng. Sci. with 18000+ citations; written 2 monographs, contributed 6 book chapters and hold 40 authorized patents. He was co-chair of the 10th International Congress on Membrane and membrane Processes (ICOM2014), and he is now an editor of Journal of Membrane Science and a council member of Aseanian Membrane Society (AMS). In 2019, his research has been recognized by the IChemE (UK) Underwood Medal for his leading research in the area of separation.
Molecular separations are widely used in the oil and gas, energy and chemical industries, but are energy intensive. Compared with conventional separation processes such as evaporation and distillation, membrane technology used for molecular separation can reduce energy consumption by an order of magnitude. However, the conventional polymeric membranes suffer a trade-off between permeability and selectivity. Alternatively, inorganic membranes, with well-defined nanostructures, could achieve both high permeance and selectivity for molecular separation. Among them, two-dimensional materials with atomic thinness can serve as new building blocks for fabricating ultrathin membranes possessing the ultimate permeation rate. The apertures of two-dimensional-material membranes (2DMMs), including the in-plane nanopores and interlayer channels, can contribute to the fast and selective transport of small molecules/ions related to molecular separation. Organic-inorganic composite membranes (OICMs) are consisted of organic separation layer supported by inorganic substrate, or polymeric matrix filled by inorganic particles. By combining the advantages of organic and inorganic materials, they provide an effective approach to improve the performance of polymeric membranes.
This talk will present our recent progress in developing next-generation membranes with sub-nanosized channels for molecular separations, from fundamental insights to engineering applications. Two kinds of membranes will be discussed here: 2DMMs and OICMs. Molecular transport pathways in 2DMMs were manipulated by optimizing the assembly behavior of 2D nanosheets, tuning the microstructure of interlayer channels, and controlling the physicochemical properties of the membrane surface. Moreover, the issues concerning 2DMMs toward practical applications will be discussed with an emphasis on the substrate eﬀect, molecular bridge strategy, and preliminary progress in large-scale fabrication. Moreover, the structural design, fabrication approach and separation performance of OICMs will be also discussed in detail. In particular, the scalable fabrication and industrial application of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)/ceramic composite membranes towards recovery of organic solvent will be focused. This presentation will conclude with an overview of the remaining challenges and the new opportunities that will be opened up for membranes applied in molecular separation.
Keywords: 2D materials; Polymer/ceramic composite membranes; Membrane technology; Molecular separation; Water desalination; Gas purification; Organic solvent recovery.
The authors acknowledge support received from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (22038006, 91934303).