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Nat Commun. 2016 Mar 7;7:10891. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10891.

Large-area graphene-based nanofiltration membranes by shear alignment of discotic nematic liquid crystals of graphene oxide.

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Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Laboratory (NSEL), Monash University, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia.
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506, USA.


Graphene-based membranes demonstrating ultrafast water transport, precise molecular sieving of gas and solvated molecules shows great promise as novel separation platforms; however, scale-up of these membranes to large-areas remains an unresolved problem. Here we demonstrate that the discotic nematic phase of graphene oxide (GO) can be shear aligned to form highly ordered, continuous, thin films of multi-layered GO on a support membrane by an industrially adaptable method to produce large-area membranes (13 × 14 cm(2)) in <5 s. Pressure driven transport data demonstrate high retention (>90%) for charged and uncharged organic probe molecules with a hydrated radius above 5 Å as well as modest (30-40%) retention of monovalent and divalent salts. The highly ordered graphene sheets in the plane of the membrane make organized channels and enhance the permeability (71 ± 5 l m(-2) hr(-1) bar(-1) for 150 ± 15 nm thick membranes).

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