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Manchester leads the way in graphene membrane research
Date:4/5/2013

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the research focuses on membranes that could provide solutions to worldwide problems; from stopping power stations releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, to detecting the chemical signals produced by agricultural pests.

The latest research grant comes just months after The University of Manchester was awarded 2.2m to lead research into graphene batteries and supercapacitors for energy storage.

No molecules can get through a perfect sheet of wonder material graphene and when platelets of graphene are built into more complex structures, highly selective membranes can be generated. The aim is, together with industrial partners, to produce working membranes for applications related to sustainability, energy, health, defence and food security.

Wonder material graphene was first isolated in 2004 at The University of Manchester by Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov. Their work earned them the 2010 Nobel prize for Physics.

Graphene is the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material, and has the potential to revolutionise a huge number of diverse applications; from smartphones and ultrafast broadband to drug delivery and computer chips.

The membrane programme builds on ground-breaking research at the University. Previous research showed that graphene oxide membranes are highly permeable to water, while being completely impermeable to gases and organic liquids when dry.

These membranes will be developed for a variety of applications, such as the removal of water when making biofuels by fermentation, and as components of fuel cells.

The research is led by Professor Peter Budd, of the School of Chemistry. He said: "We have also invented a range of polymers called Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs) which form membranes that are very good for separating gases and organic liquids.

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Contact: Daniel Cochlin
daniel.cochlin@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-8382
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

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