Jeremy Lewis

Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering (MEngr)


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Ali Alshami


Mixed matrix membranes are one class of membrane material that are an especially promising separation media. By adding a particle phase to a matrix phase, multiple mechanistic pathways become available that are not present in pristine organic or inorganic membranes. These pathways can be exploited to better enhance separation performance for a variety of applications.

This research has focused on a specific mixed matrix membrane, which contains bio-derived activated carbon particles in a polysulfone matrix. In proper selection of activating agent, this research has shown that the surface functional groups of the activated carbon are highly influenced. This can lead to better polymer filler interaction and fewer defects. This research has also provided evidence to support the idea that by changing various membrane formation parameters such as choice of solvent, nonsolvent, and additives, can influence many of the membrane’s thermal, physical, and separation properties.

This work has shown the viability of biochar and activated carbon derived from biochar are fillers that are worth investigating in mixed matrix membranes. The membranes produced were shown to have versatile applications with modifications to formation process. The applications studied include liquid phase: acid blue filtration and gas phase: CO2/N2, CO2/CH4, and N2/CH4.