Membranes & Separation Technologies
Separations are an almost universally practiced process technology employed in industrial and commercial applications. Various technologies are used, for example, in separating:
- Solids from liquids
- Particulates from air and other gaseous streams
For many challenging separations, polymeric membranes are used. These may involve microfiltration or ultrafiltration to remove extremely fine particulates. TCI’s extensive library of licensable technologies includes polymeric membrane systems.
A leading US company has developed commercial processes for making nanofibers via electrospinning. The company currently uses the technology for the production of filtration media. The diameters of the nanofibers range from 50-1000 nm, and webs of these nanofibers can be made in a range of pore sizes and web densities. The electrospinning process is quite flexible, and a number of biocompatible and biodegradable polymers can be used. The company has experience using additives in the electrospinning process. Nanofibers and electrospinning represent a novel means for nano-sizing, storing and delivering active compounds in a high surface area polymer matrix.
The nanofibers can be used as a carrier for active compounds via the oral, parenteral or topical route of administration. In addition, it can be used for tissue engineering applications, such as scaffolding technologies for the delivery of growth factors. This technology is also useful for the delivery of poorly water-soluble drugs and in wound dressings or other medical non-woven applications, where a permeable structure with small pores is desired.
The nanofibers can be synthesized from many types of polymers, including collagen, fibrinogen, alginate, chitosan, polycaprolactone, and polyethylene oxide. They can be used in the following applications:
- Pharmaceutical and drug delivery
- Rheology modification – thickeners
- Catalyst and enzyme support
- Personal and consumer care, including nonwoven fabrics