Researchers at the University of Florida's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering are developing a graphene-based membrane that aims to improve the process of dialysis treatments and reduce treatment times.
To achieve these goals, the researchers identified two things that needed addressing: the configuration of the membrane, and the material from which it was made. “This membrane is based on simplicity,” the team said. “It is based on something that uses forces of physics, rather than brute force. I made it simple through better understanding and utilizing molecular and nanomaterials self-assembly processes”.
The membrane is composed of two sheets of graphene with man-made pores in each sheet, lowering the chances of critical substances passing through. “The purpose is to be selective” the researchers said. “You cannot keep losing red blood cells, albumin, or other valuable proteins through defects inherent to typical micro-and nanomanufacturing methods.”
The team is eyeing commercialization: “We don’t just want to make a new nanomaterial discovery in our lab... We want to translate this into a technology that can be useful beyond just the limited confines of our own research laboratories.”