Membrane Fabrication and characterization facility

Flat sheet Membrane fabrication Unit

The flat sheet fabrication unit encompasses an automatic movable casting platform, fitted with an adjustable thickness blade. It is then connected in series to a oven and then to a water bath with water circulation, whose temperature is regulated with a heating tank. The polymer solution can be prepared in an attached pressurized vessel, equipped with high speed mixing paddles, temperature control and heating baths. The prepared solution is pumped to the casting sheet. The equipment is fully operated through interface software.



Flat sheet Membrane fabrication
Hollow Fiber Fabrication Unit

The hollow fiber fabrication unit comes equipped with two mixing vessels, one each for the bore and fiber solution, geared with mixing paddles, heating belts and temperature controls. The solutions are pushed through a spinneret, where the flow rates are adjusted, the solution then falls into the coagulation tank and moves along multiple rollers before it reaches the washing tank and then finally to the collection tank. The fabrication unit is equipped to mix solutions at different temperatures and adjust the air gap between the spinneret and coagulation bath.








Hollow Fiber Fabrication
Capillary Flow Porometry (Porous Materials Inc., USA)

The PMI Capillary Flow Porometer provides fully automated through-pore analysis including bubble point, pore size distribution, mean flow pore size, hydro-head, integrity, and liquid, gas, Frazier, Gurley, and Rayl permeability.









Capillary Flow Porometry
Water Intrusion Porosimetry, Aquapore (Porous Materials Inc, USA)

The Water Intrusion Porosimeter offers an alternative to mercury porosimetry for hydrophobic samples (e.g., MD membranes). The Water Intrusion Porosimeter performs a wide array of tests including total pore volume, pore volume distribution, mean pore size, and bulk density.











Water Intrusion Porosimetry
Liquid entry pressure (LEP) measurement setup

In the LEP setup, the membrane sample is placed in a sealed chamber and 2-3 ml of wetting liquid are poured onto the active surface of the membrane to cover it. The air pressure in the chamber (above the sample) is then increased gradually by means of compressed air until the pressure is high enough to enable the air to start passing through the membrane. At this initial passage, the gas flow is detected using sensors on the backside of the membrane, and the corresponding pressure is recorded as LEP. The system allows the measurement of LEP at elevated temperatures (up to 90C) and using various wetting liquids (e.g., seawater).






Liquid entry pressure
Mullen burst measurement setup

The Mullen burst test measures the pressure required to puncture a sheet of material as an indicator of its load carrying capacity under specific conditions. It is also relied upon to measure the material’s physical strength and fiber bond. To perform this test a piece of the sample is placed on top of a rubber gasket and held on its edges by a piston. The sample is then subjected to increasing pressure applied on the side in contact with the rubber gasket. The pressure needed to break the membrane is recorded as the Mullen burst pressure. The test is fully automated.






Mullen burst measurement setup
Kruss Easy Drop Contact Angle (CA) analysis machine (Hamburg, Germany)

The unit allows the measurement of contact angles (advancing and receding) and surface tensions, using built in image-processing program (DSA1 software).




Kruss Easy Drop Contact Angle
Surface analyzer (Nova 2000e, by Quantachrome)

Single and multi-point B.E.T. surface area with y-intercept, “C” constant, slope and correlation coefficient. Up to 100 adsorption and 100 desorption isotherm points. B.J.H. pore size distribution calculated from the adsorption or desorption isotherm. Total pore volume. Average pore radius.

Surface analyzer


Membrane Process test facility

Membrane Distillation Unit

The membrane distillation unit is the jewel of the membrane research lab at Masdar institute. It combines the ability to check the actual membranes performance in the various configurations tested for membrane distillation viz, DCMD, VMD, and sweeping gas membrane distillation. This instrument has the inbuilt facility to be used both in the manual and automatic mode. The system is fully instrumented and computer-controlled .  All the operational parameters such as pressure, temperature and flow rates are monitored using sensors and recorded using software developed for this purpose throughout the experiment. The membrane samples to be used can be either flat sheet pieces (5×11.5 cm) or hollow fibers. Spacers can be used on both sides to promote turbulence and to support the membrane.

Membrane Distillation Unit
RO testing Unit

The RO test unit allows the measurement of flux in flat sheet RO membranes of size 6×12 cm. All key process parameters are controllable: Feed flow rate, temperature and pressure.

RO testing Unit
FO testing Unit

The FO test unit allows the measurement of flux in flat sheet FO membranes of size 6×12 cm. All key process parameters are controllable: Feed and draw solution flow rates, flow temperatures and pressures.

FO testing unit
Lab Cell CF-1 flat sheet filtration test units (Koch Membrane Systems, KMS, UK)

Using KMS, UF, NF and RO membranes a series of industrial waste streams samples can be processed through the unit. The KMS Laboratory Cell CF-1 membrane test unit allows simulating process conditions. It is a very simple and effective tool for carrying out process evaluation for microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, and reverse osmosis flat sheet test pads.

Lab Cell CF-1 flat sheet filtration test units


Other analytical facility

Zeta Potential Analyzer (ZetaPALS, Brookhaven instruments)

The ZetaPALS determines zeta potential using Phase Analysis Light Scattering: A technique that is up to 1,000 times more sensitive than traditional light scattering methods based on the shifted frequency spectrum. The ZetaPALS utilizes phase analysis light scattering to determine the electrophoretic mobility of charged, colloidal suspensions. The PALS technique does not require the application of large fields which may result in thermal problems.

zeta potential analyzer
Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOC) (LCPH, Shimadzu)

A total organic carbon analyzer (TOC) measures the carbon content of organic substances in water. This Shimadzu TOC-L Series analyzer efficiently oxidizes not only easily-decomposed, low-molecular-weight organic compounds, but also hard-to-decompose insoluble and macromolecular organic compounds. The Shimadzu TOC-L uses a unique combustion catalytic oxidation and NDIR method that permits measurements of all samples from ultrapure water to highly contaminated water (Range of measurement is 4 μg/L to 25000 mg/L.).

 Total Organic Carbon Analyzer
UV -VIS spectrophotometer (Shimadzu, UV–visible 1800)

Photometric Mode:Measures the absorbance or transmittance at a single wavelength or at multiple (up to eight) wavelengths.

 UV -VIS spectrophotometer
Dissolved Oxygen measurement (Ino Lab BSB/BOD-740 P)

Measuring system for routine oxygen measurement in the BOD5 determination according to DIN EN 1899-1 and DIN EN 1899-2.

 Dissolved Oxygen measurement


Relevant Equipment within Masdar outside our group

1. Nanon-01A electrospining setup (MECC, Japan)
2. Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC-4000, Perkin Elmer, USA)
3. Thermo gravimetric Analyzer (4000, Perkin Elmer, USA)
4. PerkinElmer Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer (8000, Perkin Elmer, USA)
5. Asylum research Cypher Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM)
6. Asylum Research MFP-3D Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM)
7. Autolab-302N potentiostat/galvanostat in 1 MHz to 10 mHz frequency range

Masdar Institute’s central imaging facility

Click here to view Masdar Institute’s central imaging faciliy page

Quanta FEG 250 SEM by FEI (Hillsboro, OR, USA)

Navigation features include auto navigation montage, double-click stage-movements, drag-to-zoom and other useful features incorporated as standard. SmartSCANtechnology is smart scanning strategy to reduce noise and provide better data.

Quanta FEG 250 SEM by FEI
The Helios NanoLab™ 650 FESEM

Thanks to its integrated monochromator and beam deceleration, this FESEM delivers sub-nanometer resolution across the whole 1-30 kV range. The Elstar features other unique technologies such as constant power lenses for higher thermal stability and electrostatic scanning for higher deflection linearity and speed.

 The Helios NanoLab 650 FESEM
Nova Nano SEM 30 series

Samples, including the most non-conducting or contaminating materials, can equally be characterized or analyzed in the Nova NanoSEM 50 series, using its unique low vacuum capabilities. Characterization in low vacuum extends all the way up to ultra-high resolution, thanks to FEI’s Helix™ detector technology.

 Nova Nano SEM 30 series
Quanta 3D FIB SEM

This is a “dual beam” scanning electron microscope (SEM) that is also equipped with a focused ion beam (FIB). This SEM functions permit microscopic observations of a specimen while the FIB functions allows cutting the sample. This FEG-SEM-FIB has an Omniprobe for TEM sample preparation. An SDD EDS analyzes specimen elemental chemistry. In addition an electron backscattered diffraction system (EBSD) collects the crystallography information from the specimen. Using these capabilities together makes it possible to learn about, or modify, a specimen’s three dimensional (3D) structure and chemistry. It also has plug in STEM and backscatter detectors as well as environmental SEM capability!

 Quanta 3D FIB SEM
Tecnai TEM 200kV and Titan TEM 300kV

The Masdar Institute Titan enables sub-Angstrom, atomic scale discovery and exploration in both TEM and STEM modes over a wide range of materials and operating conditions.

 Tecnai TEM 200kV