porous_metal-oxide_layer

Metalmembranes develops, manufactures and offers to the market an innovative type of inorganic porous membrane.

Metalmembranes has developed and patented a revolutionary membrane technology for liquid and gas filtration. The membranes produced by Metalmembranes have a variety of benefits over the other types of membranes (e.g., ceramic or polymer), which makes them suitable for very wide cross-industry application. Processes such as conducting microbiological analysis and numerous filtration applications can benefit the most from applying our metal membranes.

Born from the opportunistic idea of combining the extensive experience and professional expertise of both its founders – two already established experts in the fields of electrochemistry and membranes – Metalmembranes now holds the patent* on a unique metal membranes technique.

Unique metal membranes advantages:

*Patent title: "Method for producing a membrane and such membrane" (2011), granted as such and categorized within the new and innovative discoveries in science.

Technology

Inorganic membranes refer to membranes made of materials such as ceramic, carbon, and silica and metals such as palladium, silver and their alloys. Based on their structure inorganic membranes can be classified into 2 major categories: porous inorganic membranes and dense (non-porous) inorganic membranes.

Some of the most common membranes on the market nowadays are made of ceramic. However the ceramic membranes are also characterized by very high weight and considerable production costs of the components. Then, dense metal membranes, mostly made of Palladium (Pd) and its alloys, are being considered for a variety of filtering operations. Palladium, however, is expensive. As a result, recent focus is on supported thin metallic membranes with thickness ranging from submicron to several tens of microns. The major advantages include reduced material costs, improved mechanical strength and higher flux.

Sintered metal filter elements have been used for years and have been used successfully in different applications.

The first applications for the newly developed metallic membranes were parts of the traditional market of sintered metal filters. When you sinter particles you have to control the conditions to make a good and reproducible filter.

It is also difficult to connect a ceramic filter to a metallic module. The advantage of our technique is that we do not sinter particles, instead we machine them electrochemically.

Metal membrane material

Metalmembranes product characteristics:

Production Process

  1. Metal membranes materials

    Product material
    The membranes are made out of metal: e.g., Aluminum or Titanium.

  2. Porous metal-oxide

    Membrane surface side 1
    The porous metal-oxide (ceramic) layer in Titanium substrate.

  3. Electrochemical machining (ECM)

    Membrane surface side 2
    The metal is partly removed through electrochemical machining (ECM) in order to create open pores on the ceramic selective layer (i.e. creating a metal-oxide membrane supported by a metal framework).

  4. Final metal membrane product

    Final product
    The final metal membrane product can be applied and easily sealed in a module.

Application

Microbiological analysis

The Metalmembranes` products are extremely suitable for conducting microbiological analysis due to the possibility for pockets to be etched directly on the metal surface.

Due to the innovative production technology used by Metalmembranes pockets can be etched directly on the metal surface of the membrane, thus creating growth chambers for microbes. Hundreds of pockets can be etched in a single membrane, which enables a faster analysis process. The pores in the metal-oxide layer retain the bacteria while allowing the free go through of nutrients. Therefore the metal membranes can be used for culturing bacteria in various media.

In addition, as opposed to polymeric membranes, our metal membranes are not auto fluorescent. This facilitates the process of spotting the microbes if labeled with fluorescent dyes for instance.

  1. Pocket etched in a metal

    Pocket etched on the metal (in light grey) revealing the metal-oxide membrane (in black) and the ceramics (in dark grey)

  2. Stained microorganisms

    Stained microorganisms (in red) on a metal membrane (in dark)

Filtration application

The main advantages of our metal membranes, making them especially suitable for filtration applications, are the extremely small pore size, high flux rates, and excellent membrane to a module sealing.

  1. Water containing dye

    Filtered and water containing dye (feed)

One of the major benefits of our metal membranes is that the pore size can be produced with parameters from a few microns to < 1nm. Because of the extremely small pore size achievable the metal membranes are very suitable for filtration applications. Also, due to the thin metal oxide layer and straight-through pores the flux rates are significantly higher than with other types of membrane. In addition, because of the unique cell design the thin separation layer (50 -150 micron) can endure high pressure (> 10 bar). Another main advantage is that the selective porous metal-oxide layer is physically connected to the metal, thus making the excellent sealing of the membrane to a module possible. Finally, since the membranes are made of tough metal materials, e.g., Aluminum or Titanium, harsh process environment (e.g., high temperature) would not affect the filtration. The membranes made of Titanium can furthermore endure extreme pH rates.

About us

The business initiative Metalmembranes is a result of the cooperation efforts between two already established experts in the fields of electrochemistry and membranes.

Creating the company was inspired by the opportunistic idea of combining the extensive experience and professional expertise of both its founders into developing and applying unique metal membranes machining technique.

  1. CEO Metalmembranes

    Hans-Henk Wolters` career in the field of electrochemistry starts during his 10-year working period at the electrochemical machining (ECM) development department at a Dutch multinational engineering and electronics company. After that experience, in 2003 Mr. Wolters departs on his entrepreneurial journey by founding ECM Technologies a company dedicated to offering innovative electrochemical machining solutions, which successfully grows into the industry knowledge leader within 10 years since its establishment.

    Throughout those years, together with expanding the company’s technology and project portfolio, Mr. Wolters deepens his process knowledge and capability on the ever-growing field of electrochemistry application for manufacturing purposes.

    Hans-Henk Wolters

  2. CTO Metalmembranes

    Sybrand Metz studied chemical engineering at the University of Twente and obtained his PhD degree in membrane science in 2003. The topic of his thesis was "Water vapor and gas transport through polymeric membranes". After a post-doc position at the University of Twente on the dehydration of flue gasses he became in 2004 scientific project manager at Wetsus, center of excellence for sustainable water technology. There he was involved in a variety of membrane related research fields. Besides his solid scientific background, Mr. Metz has proved strong managerial skills during his experience as an IP manager and project leader for numerous projects in the past 10 years.

    Sybrand´s high interest is on combining excellent science with practical commercial relevance. In addition, Mr. Metz´ R&D portfolio includes over 25 scientific publication and more than 15 patents.

    Sybrand Metz

Contact Us

If you want to know more feel free to contact us using the contact form or send an e-mail to info@metalmembranes.com

  1. Visiting address

    Orionweg 55
    8938 AG Leeuwarden
    The Netherlands
    Tel: +31 (0)652618724

  2. Mailing address

    P.O. box 7527
    8903 JM Leeuwarden
    The Netherlands
    Tel: +31 (0)652618724