Laboratory of Membrane Processes, Bioseparations and Diffusion in Polymers (MEMLAB), section on membranes and packaging The MEMLAB is an Academic Facility based in the Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering of the University of Bologna. The Lab contains all the experimental devices required to analyze the properties of membrane materials and to test their separation and purification performances, as well as the CO2 capture capacity of solid materials (membranes and adsorbents). The laboratory equipment allows to assess completely the capture ability of novel and commercial materials used in the capture processes in both post combustion and precombustion schemes, in a wide range of operative conditions in terms of temperature, pressure and gas mixture composition. Most facilities are designed and setup over the past 20 years by the personnel of the Group, according to International Standards regulating the determination of fluid transport properties like Permeability, Solubility, Diffusivity and Selectivity. The MEMLAB is continuously updated with the most recent techniques and development and in the field.
The equipment available at UNIBO covers a wide range of operative conditions and can be used to characterize many different materials and processes. In particular, the lab can characterize polymeric, nanocomposite, ceramic and metallic membranes, as well as solid adsorbents, by means of a variety of apparatuses which cover a thermal range between room temperature and 600°C, pressures from sub-atmospheric up to 50 bar, and relative humidity from dry to saturated conditions. Besides conventional permeability and selectivity testing devices which adhere to the international standards, the instrumentation is complemented with morphological, chemical and structural characterization of the material though FTIR analysis, dilatometry, densitometry. Well-trained personnel with more than 20 years of experience in the field can assist in the preparation and execution of the measurements, as well as in the interpretation of the data and extrapolation of the results to different operative conditions, with appropriate modeling tools. Indeed, the group has developed its own proprietary software based on Classical Thermodynamics for the description of gas and vapors solubility and permeability in any kind of polymeric media, and it makes use of commercial tools such as Molecular Dynamics (Scienomics MAPS®), and CFD (finite volume method) to assess material properties in ranges not experimentally reachable.
Besides MEMLAB, the DICAM department encompasses a group of applied chemists and material scientists, who possess SEM instrumentation, DSC and TGA machines as well as DMTA or tensile tests and other instruments for assessment of the mechanical properties, that allow for a thorough characterization of many types of solid, dense and porous materials.