The Analytical and Characterization Laboratory offers a comprehensive collection of state-of-art analytical and characterization instruments to support AMPM Center researchers and students in the development of new membrane and porous materials, from evaluating the fundamental properties of polymers and other precursor materials to the final characteristics of membranes used in gas and water separation applications. AMPM Center staff is available to provide initial training and experimental advice, but students in particular are encouraged to explore and become specialists in one or more of the techniques in order to gain valuable experience and more control over their research projects.
The physisorption analyzer is a fundamental characterization instrument for calculating the microporous properties of polymers from gas sorption isotherms typically measured with nitrogen at 77K.
DMA measures the properties of materials as they are deformed under stress. This technique is used primarily to evaluate the viscoelastic properties such as storage and loss modulus, as well as transition temperatures of polymers.
DSC allows the measurement of thermal transitions in polymer samples (e.g., glass transition temperature).
The Zetasizer measures particle size, electrophoretic mobility and zeta potential of particles covering a wide range of sizes (from 0.3 to 10000 nm) making it an essential analytical instrument for the characterization of all sorts of nanoparticles.
FTIR is a powerful technique to profile the chemical structure of materials, which is important during the development of new polymers.
Atomic force microscopy is a powerful high-resolution imaging technique for obtaining nanoscale topographic information of membrane surfaces without requiring any sample preparation or surface modification like in SEM.
Understanding the function and performance of any membrane requires visual confirmation of its structural characteristics and the exact dimensions of specific features (e.g., surface coating).
This versatile and high-sensitivity spectrophotometer can be used to rapidly monitor organic analytes at low concentrations, which is particularly useful when testing the retention of membranes to different organic compounds in liquid separations.
When in contact with aqueous solutions, pH and ionic strength can influence the properties of many polymers and membrane surfaces. For example, polyamide thin film composite reverse osmosis membranes are negatively charged at pH values above 5.