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Early detection of gas leaks

Invention Number: 
Flexible Ultrathin MOF Membranes

The Invention

UNSW is at the forefront of research and innovation of ‘metal organic frameworks’ - MOF membranes that could change way we fabricate molecular membranes and revolutionise how chemical companies in the future carry out gas and liquid separations and enabling earlier detection of gas and chemical leaks. 

This is an early stage invention, but it does pave the way for many technologies central to the latest techniques in chemical engineering and ultimately for improved early detection of gas and chemical leaks; for better occupational health and safety; and for the production of cleaner fuels. 

The flexible highly permeable MOF Membranes can potentially be used in many applications such as sensors, for gas separation and catalysis. 

Metal-organic frameworks are porous materials that can be designed to allow only certain size compounds to pass through. This discovery is a low cost method of making metal-organic frameworks (MOF) membranes that are flexible, stable and ultrathin.  

This invention has the potential to impact the energy, chemical, water, gas industries.

Key Benefits

  • Ultrathin membrane  
  • Mechanically flexible
  • Uniform and coherent MOF layer 
  • High permeability
  • Good stability

Potential Applications

  • Gas sensor 
  • Chemical sensor
  • Gas separation
  • Hydrogen / carbon dioxide separation
  • Catalytic membrane
  • Gas storage
  • Fuel cells

Technical Data 

This method produces ultrathin layers of the MOF material addressing a significant challenge in making the membrane.  The ultrathin layers are adhered to a polymer support.  These membranes have good mechanical flexibility, stability and separation performance. Prototype membrane built and tested on laboratory scale.

Technical Publication:

The Opportunity 

UNSW is seeking a partner to license this technology and work with the researchers to further develop it for specific applications. 

Researcher Details

Vicki Chen, PhD 

Professor & Head of School, School of Chemical Engineering

Jingwei Hou, PhD