GE Global Research, in collaboration with GE Water, proposes to develop novel surfaces (membranes or filters) that enable the purification or re-use of water in the presence of solutes including salts, heavy metals and biomatter such as municipal waste or food byproducts. The chemical and topological properties of the surface – namely, how the surfaces interact with both water and solute molecules – are highly dependent on the chosen potentials and geometries. For example, the degree of “hydrophobicity” is high dependent not only on the shape and strength of the field, but also the size of the hydrophobic entity relative to the size of the water molecules. By tuning the chemistry and the geometry, GE Global Research proposes to probe the delicate balances endemic to water treatment filters, such as “high-rejection vs high-throughput” for desalination membranes or “high-throughput vs low-biofouling” for industrial water reuse.
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