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Potential of suspension plasma spray (SPS) technique as an emerging process in ceramic filtration membrane fabrication, A hybrid microfiltration/photocatalysis titanium dioxide membrane with 14% of open porosity and considerable water flux was produced

Liquid filtration membranes for water treatment

  • Removing hazardous pollutants is a major concern of many industries such as chemical, petrochemical, mechanical, automotive, textile, pulp and paper, biotechnology, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food and beverages
  • Filtration using membranes is known as an effective, sustainable, inexpensive and eco-friendly technique to remove contaminants
  • Water treatment is another major area, in which filtration plays an important role
  • Managing the current water challenge requires better protection of the remaining water resources as well as development of affordable and modern water treatment methods
  • Water & Wastewater Treatment Equipment Market size was valued at USD 23.20 Billion in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 33.22 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 6.2% between 2017 and 2022
  • Global membrane filtration market was valued at USD 11.93 Billion in 2017. It is projected to reach USD 17.34 Billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 6.5% from 2018
  • Ceramic membrane market is projected to register a market size of $5.1 Billion by 2020
  • Enhanced mechanical, thermal, and chemical stability of ceramics makes all types of membranes (organic polymer, inorganic, organic-inorganic, and biological) an ideal material to produce separation membranes especially those to be employed in aggressive environments
  • Need improving in membranes properties, such as productivity, selectivity, fouling resistance and stability

New designs/methods for porous ceramic membranes

  • Controlled microstructure and porosity are generated using suspension plasma spray method (SPS)
  • Commercial titanium dioxide powder 𝑇𝑖𝑂2 was used to prepare aqueous suspensions
  • Suspensions of titanium dioxide powder was prepared by dispersion and homogenization of 20 wt.% solid content in distilled water without adding surfactant
  • A 3 MB plasma torch was used for deposition of the membranes
  • The suspension was injected radially into the plasma plume and it was mechanically stirred during the SPS process
  • Two types of substrates were used: stainless steel substrates grit-blasted using 80 grit 𝐴𝑙2𝑂3 particles, and alumina substrates of 48 mm diameter with 2 mm thickness
  • Porosity was evaluated with two analytical methods: gray scale image analyzing based on SEM images and mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP)
  • Clean water permeation measurement was performed with a dead end stirred cell
  • Photocatalytic activity of the titanium oxide membrane was evaluated by analyzing the degradation of 100 ppm aqueous solution of methylene blue under UVC illumination (100 – 280 nm)
  • Technology developed by Prof. Christian Moreau, Prof. Ali Dolatabadi (Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering, Concordia University), and Prof. Saifur Rahaman  (Building, Civil, and Environmental Engineering, Concordia University)

The ceramic membranes and SPS method present multiple competitive advantages    

  • SPS method is a flexible coating technique with high deposition rate
  • Possibility of deposition of sub-micron to nano sized powder in order to fabricate a membrane in a single step with a relatively high deposition rate and independent of any post heat treatment process
  • Possibility of producing different categories of membrane based on their pore sizes
  • Spraying the small particles leads to generation of a unique microstructure of unmelted and re-solidified particles embedded in a matrix of fully melted particles, which creates an open pore network allowing the liquid flux across the membrane
  • Possibility to manufacturing large surface area membranes as the plasma torches can scan several square meters of surface areas to deposit the membrane layer on the porous ceramic substrate
  • By adequately controlling the spray parameters, the porous ceramic membrane can be deposited directly without any additional high temperature post-treatment

Microstructural features of SPS TiO2 membrane on its fractured cross-section


Market applications

  • Water and wastewater treatment
  • Microfiltration/ ultrafiltration (MF/UF) separation
  • Chemical and petrochemical processing

Business opportunity

  • Technology available for licensing
  • Provisional patent application filed


If you are interested by this technology, please contact :
Jean-Philippe Valois, Director Business Development, Engineering
jpvalois@aligo.ca, (514) 575-0425


Concordia University

Main inventors


Christian Moreau, Professor and Concordia Research Chair- Tier I, Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Christian Moreau is Full Professor at Concordia University. He is an internationally recognized leader in surface engineering. His areas of expertise include nanostructured coatings by suspension thermal spray; development of in-flight particle diagnostic systems; on-line control of spray processes for improved consistency; and industrial applications of coatings and surface treatments. He currently holds a Canada Research Chair Tier 1 in Thermal Spray and Surface Engineering and leads the NSERC Strategic Network on Green Surface Engineering for Advanced Manufacturing (2017-2022). He has been Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Thermal Spray Technology from 2004 to 2016. Dr. Moreau is a Fellow of ASM Intl. and served as president of its Thermal Spray Society (TSS) from 2014-2016. He was elected a member of the TSS Hall of Fame (2013), the highest international distinction in this domain.


Ali Dolatabadi, Professor and Concordia Research Chair- Tier I, Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Dolatabadi is the Tier 1 Concordia University Research Chair Professor in Multiphase Flow and Thermal Spray.  He co-directs the Thermal Spray and Multiphase Flow Laboratory at Concordia University and has established research collaborations with a number of industry partners including Pratt & Whitney Canada, Bombardier Aerospace, Siemens Canada (formerly Rolls-Royce Canada) and Airbus. Dr. Dolatabadi is the recipient of Young Research Achievement Award, Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University in and NSERC-Discovery Accelerator Supplement (DAS). In 2010, he was elected Fellow of CSME and became a member of Provost’s Circle of Distinction. He served as the President of the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME) from 2014 to 2016. Dr. Dolatabadi is the recipient of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science Teaching Excellence Award, 2016-2017 and President’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018. Currently, he is the President-Elect of the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC).


Saifur Rahaman, Associate Professor, Building, Civil, and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Saifur Rahaman is currently a tenured Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at Concordia University. He received his Ph.D. from University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, BC, M.A.Sc. from Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, and B.Sc. from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh, all in Civil (Environmental) engineering. His primary focus current research is to develop advanced materials and novel membrane-based processes for water and wastewater treatment. His research interest includes (i) environmental applications and implications of engineered nanomaterials, (ii) membrane separations for water and wastewater purification, (iii) electrochemical advanced oxidation for disinfection and destruction of trace contaminants, and (iv) resource recovery (water, nutrient and energy) from industrial wastewater