UCL Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering


Dr Yanan Liu (formerly CNIE) publishes article in Advanced Functional Materials.

11 May 2022


A new article has been published in Advanced Functional Materials (Wiley) by former Centre for Nature Inspired Engineering (CNIE) researcher Dr Yanan Liu (now Assoc Prof in Hainan University) and Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens.

The article introduces a nature-inspired solution for tricky oil/water separations (even in stable emulsions) within a wide pH range at spectacular water flux (4,000 L/m2 h) under a very low pressure difference. It covers leverage of the fundamental mechanisms underpinning selective, high water permeation and anti-fouling of biological cell membranes. The research used chitosan-functionalised graphene nanomesh membranes to achieve this. The chitosan repels pollutants at the membrane surface and the nanomesh reduces the path length for water molecules, which rapidly slip along and through the graphene layers covered with nano-holes.

Paper and citations:

Y. Liu and M.-O. Coppens, Cell Membrane-Inspired Graphene Nanomesh Membrane for Fast Separation of Oil-in-Water Emulsions, Advanced Functional Materials (2022) 202200199


Read the paper (Open Access) here.

Thanks to EPSRC for funding this research via a "Frontier Engineering: Progression" grant.