Acoustic Membrane

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Separation and sorting of micron-sized particles (white/red blood cells, cancer cells, food bacteria, etc.) have great importance in diagnostics, chemical and biological analyses, food, and chemical processing and environmental assessment. A membrane is a low-cost tool for sorting particles and cells. The objective is to make the world’s first membranes that use acoustic vibration to sort particles by size. This could dramatically improve pathogen detection in water, as well as manufacturing processes. This membrane was made with nanofibers which are aligned together. Each of these nanofibers vibrates by applying an AC frequency because they are prepared with a special piezoelectric polymer. The team seeks to use these piezoelectric properties of the membrane to accomplish this and see how exposing the latter to different frequencies affects separation and sorting. To begin conducting experiments, first preliminary testing must be completed to validate the acoustic membrane module and make sure it does not have any leaks when running media through it. A deionized water media with a constant low flow rate is desired, 3.5 L/hr. The experimental setup components required to run both preliminary testing as well as to conduct experiments are the acoustic membrane module, DC power supply, circulation pump, and function generator. The design, purchase, manufacturing, and assembly of the acoustic membrane module were also completed, and custom made. With preliminary testing complete, experiments can begin. From this analysis, the optimal frequency ranges at which the membrane needs to be exposed to for different water purification levels will be obtained.

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