Event Type:
MSE Grad Presentation
Talk Title:
Mechanical Properties of Polymer-Supported Reduced Graphene Oxide (rGO) Membranes
MRDC Conference Room 3515

Advisor: Dr. Meisha L. Shofner

Virtually via Zoom



  • Prof. Meisha L. Shofner- School of MSE (Advisor)
  • Prof. Sankar Nair - School of ChBE
  • Prof. Donggang Yao - School of MSE


Water shortage has been a looming threat over the world, with 136 million people facing drought conditions across the United States in 2023 alone. This crisis makes smart management of water now more important than ever. As an example, replacing or offsetting the use of evaporators in industrial water processing with nanofiltration units can help recycle water and save energy. Nanofiltration membranes consisting of reduced graphene oxide (rGO) on a polymer support serve as good candidates for filtering industrial water under harsh conditions where several traditional membranes fail. To support the further development of these membranes and understand their performance, this study investigates the effects of different polymer supports and intercalants on the processing-structure-property relationships of rGO membranes. An important aspect of this research is concentrated on exploring the multiple competing effects such as the pinning of the rGO galleries by an intercalant, compaction pressure applied during membrane processing, and introduction of water for wet membrane testing. To study these effects, mechanical tests such as tensile tests, fragmentation, and nanoindentation were performed on the membranes, and free-standing (FS) rGO films were fabricated for axial and transverse mechanical testing. Additionally, the results from these tests shed light on the rGO-support interface and provide useful insights into the permeation performance of intercalated rGO membranes. Alongside experimental work, micromechanical modeling approaches were pursued to better understand the component interactions and the mechanical behavior of the membranes. Based on the initial dataset collected, these results will assist in the future design of similar membranes, enabling the production of a family of rGO-based membranes with specific performance targets.