The Membrane Innovation Centre Eindhoven (MIC/e) translates academic knowledge from, for example, PhD-projects to concrete industrial applications and solutions for industry questions. While the results of PhD-projects will by definition be published, this obligation does not apply to the projects carried out by the MIC/e, which may have a confidential character. This allows companies to developed and market new products and processes while also gaining scientific knowledge. The duration of academic research projects is four years (duration of a PhD-project) this is especially for SMEs to far in the future. MIC/e is much more flexible and can offer projects between a few hours for example a standard membrane characterization up to 3 years for example the development of a new type of membrane.
Collaboration with industry
The strong relationship of our services with the application means that we emphatically seek cooperation with industry. The cooperation between university and business makes research inspiring and challenging. Certainly at a time with major technological challenges that demand innovative, but also achievable solutions in time and application, collaboration with industry is crucial. The MIC/e is your academic partner that makes academic knowledge better accessible by bridging the gap between fundamental research and industrial valorization of this knowledge.
The Membrane Innovation Centre Eindhoven:
- For short term confidential assignments
- Applied by highly skilled researchers, no students
- Uses knowledge and infrastructure of MM/P and the department Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.
- Topics complementary to the fundamental, academic research of MM/P
The chemical nature of the polymer and the three-dimensional structure of the membrane combined with the process technological conditions dictate the membrane performance. This dual character - chemistry and process technology - is not entirely coincidental also the organizational structure of the department Chemical Engineering and Chemistry of the TU/e.
Based on the customers specifications, polymers, additives and solvents are selected. Membranes are produced as flat sheets or by dry-wet hollow fiber spinning.
Another route is modification of existing membranes to improve the performance is also part of our expertise and can be done by both polymer modification before the membrane formation process as well as in a post treatment step by applying chemical modifications or a functional coating.
Then the membranes are characterized by geometry, pore size, retention or permeability and selectivity to benchmark them against the desired specifications. After that, small modules can be constructed for membrane evaluation using real industrial process streams in our laboratory or at the customers location.
Membrane characterization comprises three different categories:
- Material Properties
Determination of material properties from both the starting materials and the membranes. This involves e.g. thermal and rheological characteristics, density, gas sorption, water content, streaming potential (surface charge).
- Membrane Properties
Determination of material and structural properties of membranes. This involves e.g. pore size and pore size distribution, pore shape, volume porosity, BET area, membrane symmetry, top-layer thickness, ion exchange capacity, contact angle, morphology, elemental composition.
- Membrane and system performance evaluation
This involves e.g. clean water flux, cut-off value, retention, cleaning stability, fouling study, autopsy for pressure driven processes like microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis and for concentration driven processes like forward osmosis and dialysis. And (mixed) gas permeability and selectivity for gas separation membranes.
MIC/e offers applied membrane research by screening and performance evaluation of commercial available membranes using your process conditions and compositions.
After a first membrane selection based on your process conditions and a literature research small labscale tests are carried out to refine the selection. Where after the most promising membranes modules are tested using real feed streams and conditions. The later can be performed in our laboratories as well on your location.
MIC/e offers advisory services that consist of trouble shooting with respect to industrial membrane production, membrane malperformance or membrane applications.
MIC/e has extensive and relevant knowledge on membrane materials and processes, has a broad international network and has direct access to most international journals on polymer and membrane science, technology and applications. You can benefit from this for e.g. performance mapping of proper materials and membranes, selection of commercially available membranes or for a market research and exploration.
Sales of membrane related equipment
MIC/e has a close cooperation with the Equipment & Prototype Center (EPC) from Eindhoven University of Technology. The EPC has a staff of 45 professionals and modern and well-equipped workshops. Their assignments range from design to finished products and from manufacturing of components to million euros complex projects. Together we can design and construct dedicated membrane equipment for e.g. lab scale membrane production and characterization.