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Fabrication of Robust Nanoporous Polymer Films with Cocontinuous Structures

DOE Grant Recipients

University of Minnesota

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<span id="Caption"><span id="ctl00_MainContentHolder_zoomimage_defaultCaption">The nanostructured membrane has highly tunable and finely percolating domains</span></span>
The nanostructured membrane has highly tunable and finely percolating domains

<span id="Caption"><span id="ctl00_MainContentHolder_zoomimage_defaultCaption">The separation membrane can be used as a proton exchange membrane for fuel cell applications</span></span>
The separation membrane can be used as a proton exchange membrane for fuel cell applications

<span id="Caption"><span id="ctl00_MainContentHolder_zoomimage_defaultCaption">Fuel Cell Proton Exchange Membrane </span></span>
Fuel Cell Proton Exchange Membrane

Technology Marketing Summary

Nanofiltration Membrane for Ultrafiltration, Gas Separation and Liquid Separation

The separation membrane has high throughput, and can be used in separation and purification of gas and/or liquid substances. Due to its high strength, the polymer nanofiltration membrane can be used as a high surface area catalyst support or as a proton exchange membrane in fuel cell applications. The membrane demonstrated good separation of ammonia from hydrogen and nitrogen. The polymer membrane is not only formed from inexpensive starting materials, but is also created in a straightforward preparation process that results in low production costs.


Nanofiltration Membrane can be Tailored for Diverse Applications

The nanofiltration membrane is formed from tailored polymers that allow for the membrane to have finely percolating domains, narrow and highly tunable size distributions (adjustable by varying materials), and remarkable mechanical strength. The tailored polymers can be altered for a wide range of applications, including for creation of water purification membranes, proton exchange membranes, gas separation membranes, and liquid separation membranes.

  • Excellent mechanical strength and high throughput
  • Simple fabrication process using low cost starting materials resulting in low production costs
  • Nanofiltration membrane has narrow pore size distributions
  • Improved separations and throughput compared to other separation membranes
  • Tunable pore sizes (5-100 nanometer)
  • Polymer membrane can be easily tailored for application including for use as a water purification membrane, proton exchange membrane, gas separation membrane, liquid separation membrane, and ultrafiltration
More Information


Dr. Marc Hillmyer

The Hillmyer Research Group is interested in the design, synthesis, and applications of functional polymeric materials. While emphasis is placed on new synthetic methodologies, they also focus on morphology and property control and work to identify detailed structure/property relationships in a broad range of macromolecular materials. Their current interests are in polymers from renewable resources, in block copolymer self-assembly, and in the preparation of nanostructured materials with particular emphasis on nanoporous polymers for applications in separations, templating, and catalysis.

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,420,704
Nano-structured polymer composites and process for preparing same
A process for preparing a polymer composite that includes reacting (a) a multi-functional monomer and (b) a block copolymer comprising (i) a first block and (ii) a second block that includes a functional group capable of reacting with the multi-functional monomer, to form a crosslinked, nano-structured, bi-continuous composite. The composite includes a continuous matrix phase and a second continuous phase comprising the first block of the block copolymer.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
Z07135Development - Performance of the separation membranes as water purification membranes and gas separation membranes has been demonstrated (e.g, ammonia separation from mixtures containing hydrogen and nitrogen). Variations of the core polymer structure and separation membranes large enough for ASTM method testing have been made.Available - Licensee will receive rights to practice the intellectual property (patent application) for the purposes of developing and manufacturing a commercial product.03/13/201203/13/2012

Contact University of Minnesota About This Technology

To: University of MinnesotaLarry Micek<>