Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry - (Ph.D.)


Chemistry and Environmental Science

First Advisor

S. Mitra

Second Advisor

Carol A. Venanzi

Third Advisor

Edgardo Tabion Farinas

Fourth Advisor

Haidong Huang

Fifth Advisor

Pradyot Patnaik


Membrane processes classically cover a wide range of applications associated with various aspects of separation and purification. Over the last few years, membrane based processes have received much interest due to their compact and modular architecture, low energy consumption and cost effective separation. With the development of diverse nanomaterials which can serve as nanosorbents, or provide specific morphology for selective solute transport, recent years have witnessed the emergence of nanocarbon based membranes that can address some of the limitations of conventional membrane processes and make feasible the next generation of breakthroughs.

The objective of this research is the exploration of carbon nanotube immobilized membrane (CNIM) for performance enhancement in two lead membrane separation processes, namely, membrane extraction and membrane distillation. A state of the art of the implementation of carbon nanotube membranes on polar membranes for extraction of emerging polar analytes is addressed. Succeeding investigation and experimental studies performed on hydrophobic and hydrophilic functionalized carbon nanotube membranes for sweep gas membrane distillation and direct contact membrane distillation is also studied. With respect to the conventional membrane distillation membrane, the CNIM membrane demonstrates several interesting properties, which aid in improving the overall desalination performance. Besides noteworthy enhancement in flux in CNIM, further investigations are carried out utilizing emerging nanocarbons, namely, detonation nanodiamonds (DND).

Overall, it is demonstrated that the nanocarbon immobilized membranes show enhanced performance with significantly higher levels of flux enhancement and enrichment, thereby improving the overall membrane selectivity.

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