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Researchers Get Patent for Nanomembranes


Scientists from the TRC Chair in Nanotechnology at Sultan Qaboos University got patent registered for their invention of “Nanostructured Zinc Oxide Membranes for Separating Oil from Oil-Water Mixture”. The inventors are Prof. Joydeep Dutta, former Chair of the TRC Chair in Nanotechnology, and Dr. Myo Tay Zar Myint, Laboratory Applications Specialist at the College of Science, SQU. The patent for this invention has been registered in the US Patent Office.
Their invention, a nanostructured zinc oxide membrane for removing oil from oil-water mixture includes a membrane substrate and a plurality of zinc oxide nanorods on at least one surface of the membrane substrate. The nanorods can cover less than about 40% of the surface of the membrane. Air pockets can be formed in spaces between adjacent nanorods. The nanostructured zinc oxide membranes can be used to separate oil from an oil-water mixture in a cost-effective and energy efficient manner.
Dr. Myo Tay Zar Myint said that they used hydrothermal process to build the nanostructure on the porous structure, which can be any flexible material. “The nanostructured zinc oxide membranes have different applications in the industry and daily life. This membrane can be primarily used for separating oil and water from any oil-water mixture. A coating of this nanostructured on different surfaces will convert the material’s surface into a self-cleaning surface. This coating can be applied on windshields of vehicles, glass windows of buildings and any typing of metal surface, clothing or footwear so that they will have self-cleaning potential”, he said.
Prof. Joydeep Dutta is currently the Chair of Functional Materials division at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He was the Chair Professor in Nanotechnology for Water Desalination and other applications in Sultan Qaboos University until recently.