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Artificial water channels membranes for membrane distillation (H/F)

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Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : vendredi 27 novembre 2020

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General information

Reference : UMR5635-DAVCOR-004
Date of publication : Friday, November 06, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Dr. M-D. BARBOIU
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 January 2021
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

In the field of seawater desalination, processes less energy consuming are easier to implement than reverse osmosis, in particular for "decentralized" drinking water production systems. Membrane distillation is an interesting alternative which is widely described in the literature with hydrophobic polymer and hybrid membranes. In the NSA group, we combine skills in the synthesis of composite membranes containing water channels, hybrid organic / inorganic hydrophobic plane, tubular and capillary membranes as well as skills in electrochemistry to desalinate water and recycle brines generated during membrane distillation. Thus, a module developed in the team for tubular ceramic membranes has already shown the effectiveness of hydrophobic hybrid ceramic membranes. Another module was recently built to implement composite membranes in the form of thin desalination layers.
During this thesis, the student will have for objectives to develop new hybrid membranes and hydrophobic composites by combining water and / or ion channels with the properties of ceramic membranes of ultra and / or nanofiltration then to test them in the various membrane distillation module configurations. The targets are the selective transport of water molecules and / or ions in order to desalinate and recycle the brine resulting from the desalination process. This involves the development of self-organized hybrid or composite membranes, having artificial water channels and / or ion channels selective for anions or cations that can be inserted into a hydrophobic matrix. One of the challenges will be to adapt the conditions for depositing these selective groups within a hydrophobic matrix on ceramic membrane supports prepared in the laboratory for membrane distillation and commercial for the recycling part of the brine.
The candidate should have skills in synthetic chemistry of materials with knowledge in membrane processes. The study of the self-association of supramolecular systems, their confinement or grafting on commercial polymer membranes and custom-prepared ceramic will be carried out. Sol-gel synthesis will be implemented in order to develop hybrid nanofiltration membrane layers incorporating artificial water channels and / or ion channels. Finally, the different membranes will be tested in baromembrane filtration and membrane distillation in order to study the performance in desalination and recycling of brines that can lead to energy production.

Work Context

The European Institute of Membranes-IEM of Montpellier hold an unique position in the field of membrane materials and processes, by making the link between the synthesis of new materials and their functionalities as selective systems for the environment, health and energy. In this approach, the principles of supramolecular chemistry and chemistry of materials come together to optimize the preparation of adaptive and functional membrane systems. One of the strong themes that emerges revolves around the problem of water and ions, their transport in confined environments, ionic forces, the importance of hydration and long-distance interactions, the measurement of osmotic pressure, etc.
We are offering a full-time PhD position for 36 months. The gross salary amounts to about € 2 135 per month. It corresponds to roughly € 1 715 after taxes and social security.

Constraints and risks

The earliest starting date is the 1 January 2021.

Additional Information

Please provide: Motivation letter, Curriculum Vitae, Publications (if available).

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