Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Polymers and Coatings


Chemistry & Biochemistry


College of Science and Mathematics


Shanju Zhang

Advisor Department

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Advisor College

College of Science and Mathematics


Nanomaterials such as graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes, have demonstrated excellent properties for membrane desalination, including decrease of maintenance, increase of flux rate, simple solution casting, and impressive chemical inertness. Here, two projects are studied to investigate nanocarbon based membrane desalination. The first project is to prepare hybrid membranes with amyloid fibrils intercalated with graphene oxide sheets. The addition of protein amyloid fibrils expands the interlayer spacing between graphene oxide nanosheets and introduces additional functional groups in the diffusion pathways, resulting in increase of flux rate and rejection rate for the organic dyes. Amyloid fibrils also provide structural assistance to the hybrid membrane, which supresses cracking and instability of graphene oxide sheets. The second project is to fabricate polymer nanocomposite membranes with carbon nanotubes encapsulated by polymerized surfactants. The designed polymerizable surfactant forms lyotropic liquid crystalline mesophases in an aqueous medium with hexagonal packing of cylindrical micelles. The adsorption of surfactants on the surface of carbon nanotubes allows a stable dispersion of carbon nanotubes encapsulated in the cylindrical micelles, resulting in the ordered structure. After photo-polymerization, the composite membranes display enhanced dye rejection. Both projects have shown promising ways to improve membrane filtration by using nanomaterials.