A Critical Assessment of Surface-Patterned Membranes and Their Role in Advancing Membrane Technologies

Yazan Ibrahim, Nidal Hilal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Surface patterning of membranes has emerged as a nonchemical approach to improving the performance of water separation and ion exchange membranes. These patterns reduce the interactions between foulants and the membrane, which ultimately hinder foulant adsorption and deposition. Therefore, in water separation membranes, such surface patterns can be beneficial in battling membrane fouling. Additionally, surface patterns can increase the effective membrane surface area, leading to enhanced water permeation compared to that of the flat membranes. They can also reduce ionic resistance and improve the current/power density of the ion exchange membranes (IEMs) used in fuel cells and electrodialysis. This critical review offers a thorough evaluation of more than two decades of research regarding membrane surface patterning with a specific focus on how it enhances membrane performance and advances our understanding of surface patterning methods. It also covers the underlying antifouling mechanisms, the impact of surface patterns on water filtration processes, and their influence on the current/power density of IEMs. Understanding the correlation between surface patterning techniques and membrane properties is essential for successful and efficient application in membrane processes. Through this exploration, this review offers valuable perspectives for future research that can help in developing more effective surface-patterned membranes for improved performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3807-3834
Number of pages28
JournalACS ES and T Water
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 8 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology


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