College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Materials Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Materials Engineering

College - Author 2

College of Engineering

Department - Author 2

Materials Engineering Department

Degree - Author 2

BS in Materials Engineering



Primary Advisor

Trevor Harding, College of Engineering, Materials Engineering Department


Meissner Filtration Product Inc. designs and manufactures membranes for food and beverage, microelectronics, ultrapure chemicals, and pharmaceutical industries. Membrane filters utilized in these industries have lifetimes greatly limited due to membrane fouling. Increasing membrane lifetime will reduce downtime, waste, and cost of operation. The proposed project is aimed to develop a methodology for synthesizing a fouling-resistant polymer coating layer on hydrophobic membrane surfaces for reducing membrane fouling and increasing membrane filterability (membrane lifetime) that are critical for effective membrane operations in the pharmaceutical industry. In this study, commercial membranes were coated with a solution containing a monomer, crosslinker, and photoinitiator dissolved in isopropyl alcohol. The coating was then synthesized by UV-initiated graft polymerization using SpeedCure 2022 photoinitiator and a 365nm UV lamp. Both the control and modified membranes were characterized using Attenuated Total Reflectance - Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), goniometry, water flux tests, and Ovaltine fouling tests in order to confirm the presence and evaluate the effectiveness of the fouling resistant layer on the membrane surface. Characterization of modified membranes reveals that the coating is sufficiently bonded and decreases the porosity of the membrane. The data collected from the above tests suggests that increasing monomer vol% increases anti-fouling properties whereas crosslinker vol% is best maintained at 1-2%. Performing successful fouling tests on modified membranes after 3 water flux tests suggests the fouling resistant coating is robust. Surface modified membranes showed increased operating lifetime by up to 80% relative to base membrane. As the coating both stays on the membrane and increases time to foul, the efficacy of PEG grafting onto membranes is proven.