Nanostructured Membranes for Filtration, Disinfection, and Remediation of Aqueous and Gaseous Systems

EPA Grant Number: GR832372
Title: Nanostructured Membranes for Filtration, Disinfection, and Remediation of Aqueous and Gaseous Systems
Investigators: Kit, Kevin , Davidson, P. Michael , Weiss, Jochen , Zivanovic, Svetlana
Institution: University of Tennessee - Knoxville , University of Massachusetts - Amherst
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: August 1, 2005 through July 31, 2008 (Extended to July 31, 2009)
Project Amount: $349,200
RFA: Greater Research Opportunities: Research in Nanoscale Science Engineering and Technology (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Nanotechnology , Safer Chemicals


The objective is to develop electrospun nanofiber chitosan membranes which will have the ability to treat aqueous and gaseous environments by actions of filtration, disinfection, and metal binding. Chitosan is nontoxic and biodegradable and has been shown to have beneficial antimicrobial and metal binding properties. These beneficial properties will be optimized in a nanofiber structure in which the surface area per mass is very high. The central hypothesis for the proposed research is that the degree to which these nanofiber chitosan membranes effectively filter contaminants, kill microbes, and bind harmful metals will be optimized by minimizing the size of the electrospun fibers and maximizing the available chitosan surface area.


Our first task will be to understand the processing-structure relationships for electrospun chitosan fibers so that the fiber size can be controlled and minimized. Our subsequent tasks will focus on assessing the filtration, disinfection, and metal binding properties of electrospun chitosan membranes and the effect of fiber size on these properties for applications in environmental treatment and remediation. In order to accomplish these tasks, a multidisciplinary team with collective expertise in the areas of polymer processing and characterization, electrospinning, carbohydrate chemistry and processing, and microbiology has been assembled.

Expected Results:

The expected result of this research is a new nanostructured system for the treatment and remediation of aqueous and gaseous environments with improved efficiency over current filtration technologies. The multiple functions that these chitosan membranes will serve (removal, destruction, and immobilization of toxic species) could make them cost effective replacements for multiple treatment systems presently in use.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 13 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

air, atmosphere, water, drinking water, groundwater, adsorption, absorption, toxics, particulates, heavy metals, sustainable development, nanotechnology, renewable, waste reduction, environmental chemistry, biology, engineering, agriculture,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Water, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Physics, Remediation, Technology for Sustainable Environment, New/Innovative technologies, Chemistry and Materials Science, Environmental Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, industrial wastewater, detoxification, in situ remediation, membranes, remediation technologies, nanotechnology, environmental sustainability, antimicrobial nanostructured membranes, metal binding, catalytic studies, nanocatalysts, groundwater remediation, environmental chemistry, aquifer remediation design, environmentally applicable nanoparticles, groundwater contamination, electrospun nanofiber chitosan membranes, innovative technologies, pollution prevention, contaminated aquifers, ultrafiltration, membrane-based nanostructured metals, disinfection, metal removal, membrane technology

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2006 Progress Report
  • 2007
  • 2008 Progress Report
  • Final Report