SQU researchers get new patent in segregating water from oil

Prof Joydeep Dutta

MUSCAT: Scientists from the TRC Chair in Nanotechnology at Sultan Qaboos University got patent registered for their invention of “Nano-structured Zinc Oxide Membranes for Separating Oil from Oil-Water Mixture”.
The inventors are Prof Joydeep Dutta, former Chair of the TRC Chair in Nanotechnology, and Dr Myo Tay Zar Myint, Laboratory Applications Specialist at the College of Science, SQU. The patent for this invention has been registered in the US Patent Office.
Their invention, a nano-structured zinc oxide membrane for removing oil from oil-water mixture includes a membrane substrate and a plurality of zinc oxide nanorods on at least one surface of the membrane substrate.  The nanorods can cover less than about 40 per cent of the surface of the membrane.  Air pockets can be formed in spaces between adjacent nanorods.  The nano-structured zinc oxide membranes can be used to separate oil from an oil-water mixture in a cost-effective and energy efficient manner.
Dr Myo said that they used hydrothermal process to build the nano-structure on the porous structure, which can be any flexible material.
“The nano-structured zinc oxide membranes have different applications in the industry and daily life. This membrane can be primarily used for separating oil and water from any oil-water mixture. A coating of this nano-structured on different surfaces will convert the material’s surface into a self-cleaning surface. This coating can be applied on windshields of vehicles, glass windows of buildings and any typing of metal surface, clothing or footwear so that they will have self-cleaning potential”, he said.
Prof Joydeep Dutta is currently the Chair of Functional Materials division at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He was the Chair Professor in Nanotechnology for Water Desalination and other applications in Sultan Qaboos University until recently.