Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2017

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Engineering


Caitlin Howell

Second Committee Member

Paul Millard

Third Committee Member

Douglas Bousfield


In the processing industry, fouling due to the accumulation of bioparticles or bacteria on the surface of membranes results in decreased capacity, and subsequently requires filtration membranes to require periodic cleaning, causing increased operating costs. In this work, we evaluate the recently discovered concept of liquid-gated membranes (LGMs) in both filtration characteristics, as well as their ability to facilitate passive cleaning of membranes fouled with whey proteins. Additionally, we show that biofilms formed on the surface of these membranes can be removed through exposure to an air-water interface through a simple dipping step. We further analyze the mechanisms of fouling in LGMs and determine how passive recovery is achieved. Through this work, we provide a basic understanding of LGMs for industry applications. This work will serve as a platform to future studies to fully quantify and evaluate the potential of LGMs to reduce operating costs in filtration processes.