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Dominique Porcincula1

1, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, California, United States

As the global population continues to increase, the demand for potable water will also increase despite the decreasing amount of available freshwater. As such, desalination of sea water will play a major role in the production of potable water for future generations. When compared to conventional reverse-osmosis techniques, the use of carbon nanotubes has shown great promise in the ability to provide a low-energy solution to desalination. However, one of the main issues in this technology has been in the production of a membrane with vertical alignment of carbon nanotubes. To address this problem, inert and polymerizable surfactants were incorporated with single-walled carbon nanotubes to create vertically aligned hexagonal phase liquid crystal structures. Investigation of shearing properties of the composite samples has shown an increase the alignment of the system as shown by the formation of banded textures. As such, technologies utilizing controlled shear rates, including 3D printing and screen printing technologies, have been utilized to create the vertically-aligned nanocomposite membranes, providing insight into the processability and scalability of this composite into a commercial platform.

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