EMS Webinar 05/05/21

Our next webinar will be on May 5th at 4:00 PM Central European Time, via our EMS Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBzUqWLIW-VXIDGLgI8QpiA.


Title: Surgical masks testing: a multidisciplinary approach led by membrane scientists


Abstract: The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic highlighted the lack of masks and personal protective equipment, which represents the main defense available against COVID-19. The masks shortage was dramatic in Italy, the first European country hit by the pandemic. To address the emergency and to support the Italian industrial reconversion to produce surgical masks a multidisciplinary group of the University of Bologna created a laboratory to test surgical mask according to the European regulations. The group, driven by the expertise of the membrane group of DICAM, built the test lines to perform all the functional tests required. Chemical engineers, microbiologists and occupational medicine were part of the team. In Europe, surgical masks must be labelled with the CE mark and meet the requirements defined in EN14683:2019 and in EN ISO 10993-1. Four testing lines were assembled to perform the required tests, namely breathability, bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE), bioburden and splash test (for masks type II R). According to EN 14683:2019, the experimental workflow starts with the breathability test, which is the easiest though fundamental and helps to immediately exclude non suitable materials on the basis of the air permeability. Suitable masks are then tested for BFE, which provides indication on the filtration capabilities towards droplets like the breathing aerosol, and for microbial cleanliness. The chemico-physical properties of the constituent materials are also characterized and correlated to the breathability and BFE results. For masks of type II R the resistance to blood penetration is determined with the splash test with synthetic blood. Attempts to optimize and improve the protocols for masks validation looking at more advanced techniques that, if reliable and fast, could be proposed for the modification of the current test standard. The Laboratory started its activity on March 24th. As of Dec 31st 2020 602 prototypes were tested, with nearly 1200 tests performed in total. A critical analysis of the results will be presented, moreover results of long run tests to investigate the life of surgical masks with use will be discussed.


Speaker: Cristiana Boi, Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering University of Bologna, Italy

Cristiana Boi is Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering at the University of Bologna, Italy and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, USA. She graduated in Chemical Engineering in 1991 and received her PhD in Chemical Engineering in1996, winning the EMS Award for the best PhD thesis in the membrane field in Europe in that year. She has been the President of the European Membrane Society, EMS, (2017-18) and she is the Secretary of the World Association of Membrane Societies, WA-MS, (2017-20). Her research activity is in the field of membrane and chromatographic separations, in particular regarding the preparation, modification and characterization of functional materials for bioseparations and water purification. The main focus is on the fundamental aspects of the different processes considered and on their possible applications. Current projects involve the purification of gene therapy vectors, of extracellular vesicles (EVs), the removal of toxins and small molecules from blood and water streams, and the production of novel chromatographic media. In March 2020,Professor Cristiana Boi has funded the University of Bologna Surgical Masks Testing Lab and she is currently leading a research group involved in the characterization and testing of materials and facemasks. Cristiana Boi has published more than 35 articles in high impact peer reviewed journals, she presented more than 100 papers at international conferences and she has been invited to present seminars at several universities and companies around the world. She is a member of the editorial board of the journal Membranes and she is act as a reviewer for the most relevant scientific journals on her research area.



In memoriam Prof. Yuri Pavlovich Yampolskii


Yuri Pavlovich Yampolskii

08.08.1938 – 24.03.2021


On March 24, 2021, at the age of 83, Professor Yuri Yampolskii, an outstanding scientist, Chief researcher of the TIPS RAS, Doctor of Chemical Sciences, died after a serious illness.

Yuri was at the origin of the Russian membrane science. Since 1973, he worked at the A.V. Topchiev Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where he headed the laboratory of Membrane gas separation.

Yuri Yampolskii was a laureate of the Russian Federation Government Award (1995) for his work in the field of membrane materials science, an honorary member of the European Membrane Society (EMS), a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Association for Advancing Science (AAAS) and a permanent deputy editor-in-chief of the Petroleum Chemistry journal.

Yuri became world-famous for his work on membrane materials science, in fact, this term, which is widely used today in world science, was coined by him. He was the author of the course of lectures "Membrane Materials Science", which was taught at the Faculty of Materials Science of MSU since 2004, and continues today by his students. For the first time, he justified the application of the positron annihilation method and other probe methods to the study of the free volume of glassy polymers. His extensive social connections with various groups of scientists in Russia and abroad, including those in the field of synthetic polymer chemistry, allowed us to significantly increase the range of membrane polymers studied and to create in 1998 the Database "Gas separation parameters of glassy polymers", which is still works as the hallmark of the TIPS RAS Membrane Center. Yuri Yamploskii is the author of more than 450 scientific publications and 12 monographs. His broad scientific outlook and scientific curiosity allowed him to generate new ideas and directions of work until his last days. Thanks to his leadership talent, many of his students work around the world in the field of membrane science and membrane technology.

Bright memory to you, Yuri Yamploskii, colleague, friend and Teacher.

Kolya Belov, Alexander Alentiev, Alexey Volkov


For the first time, I met Yuri Yampolskii in person as a doctoral student at the CHISA 2002 conference held in Prague. Since Yuri was a good friend of my former supervisor Milan Šípek, he also visited our laboratory in all of Prague. Subsequently, we measured the sorption of organic vapors in amorphous Teflon AF2400 for his working group (A. Tokarev et al, https://doi.org/10.1002/polb.20725). Our next personal contact was at the Euromembrane 2006 conference in Giardini Naxos, Sicily. I vividly remember Yuri sitting in a beautiful hotel park on a bench overlooking the sea, and the conference participants coming to the conference building greeted him in a friendly way. Then our meetings were more frequent thanks to the involvement of our workplaces in a solution of joint FP7-NMP DoubleNanoMem project, discussions on joint articles and participation in other conferences such as Euromembrane, ICOM, etc. Our last contact was from last year. As an academic guest editor, Yuri asked me and my close friends from Italy ( ITM-CNR) to review the Ionic Liquid Gas Separation Membranes for Membranes journal.

With Yuri's passing, the membrane community loses an important member who has been recognized as a scientist and the author of many inspirational books on membrane processes.

Karel Friess


Professor Yampolskii contributed with articles, reviews, books and databases to the rationalization and understanding of the process of gas sorption and transport in polymeric membranes for gas separation. He focused, among the others, on fundamental problems such as the ageing of glassy polymers and the role of free volume in gas transport, and created correlations between molecular quantities and separation performance. Professor Yampolskii aimed at creating order in the intricate world of membrane properties and structure. His work will remain to guide those who want to start research in the field of gas separation membranes or want to design a new membrane separation process.

 Maria Grazia de Angelis




EMS Webinar 07/04/21

Our next webinar will be on April 7th at 4:00 PM, via our EMS Youtube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBzUqWLIW-VXIDGLgI8QpiA.


Title: Don’t block your process with membranes: sharing best practices of usage of commercial membrane products

Abstract: The aim of the presentation is to show open-channel tubular membranes and the latest case studies of usage of Microfiltration, Ultrafiltration through Nanofiltration and Reverse Osmosis and their advantages of resistance to blocking and fouling by suspended or precipitate matter, with consequent minimal pretreatment requirements and ease of cleaning. In overall it will be showed how to select the most appropriate membrane type to suit an application, minimizing investment and running costs as well as maximizing benefits of using tubular membranes.


Speaker: Piotr BRUZDA, PCI Membranes https://www.pcimembranes.com/
Piotr Bruzda is a high qualified specialist in the field of membrane filtration technologies with emphasis on Drinking Water Systems, Submerged + Side-Stream Membrane Bioreactors and processes for high quality Products staring from Fine Chemicals through Dye/Ink, Pharmaceuticals and ending with Food&Beverages. He has a deep engineering back ground and laser focus to resolve technical problems into engineered solutions with using Best Available Technologies. His water and wastewater experience spans almost 20 years of industrial and municipal experiences throughout the World.


The Patrick Meares Prize

In 2015 the EMS received a donation from the late Patrick Meares, one of the pioneers of membrane science. From his will one can read “...with the request, but without imposing any binding trust, that the sum be used to establish a prize to be awarded biannually to a deserving young membrane scientist on the basis of criteria to be established by agreement between the Board and the Council of the Society.".

With this in mind, the EMS Council established the Patrick Meares Prize for the best Ph.D. thesis work on membrane science.


  • EMS membership (valid membership at least one year before the deadline of applications);
  • D. awarded between 01/07/2018 and 30/06/2021.


  • Two supporting letters (one from outside the applying institution) in which the contribution of the work to the membrane field performed by the applicant is clearly stated;
  • A two pages summary of the thesis contents and a list of published papers and conference presentations based on the thesis work.
  • A proof that the Ph.D. has been awarded (copy of the diploma or certificate of completion from the institution awarding the diploma).

The deadline for applications is 30/06/2021. The applications will be submitted to the EMS Secretariat at ems@chimie.ups-tlse.fr


A committee of EMS Council members and Honorary Council Members will evaluate the applications and the 4 shortlisted candidates will be invited to present their work in a Patrick Meares Prize Symposium that will be held at the Euromembrane 2021 congress in Copenhagen (September 12-16). A panel will evaluate the presentations and nominate the winner of the prize at Euromembrane 2021.

The 4 shortlisted candidates will receive a free Euromembrane 2021 registration and the winner of the Patrick Meares Prize wins a check of 1,500 euros.


EMS Logo contest Result



The results for the Logo selection are:

Eligible Voters: 470
Participating Voters: 127

Votes by Candidate:
Logo 2 (elected): 47 votes
Logo 1 : 45 votes
Logo 3: 35 votes

The EMS Council is thus glad to announce the winner, logo n°2, and congratulate the author, Stepan Bazhenov, PhD from TIPS RAS in Moscow, Russia.

The EMS council also would like to thank all the contestants for their dedication and passion and great ideas shared  with the Society!

Now it is time for the members to decide whether to keep the old logo or replace it with the new one, as agreed during the General Assembly and Council meeting.
This second round of vote will be announced soon by the EMS president.




Wednesday March 3rd 4:00 PM (CET)


Title: Preparation of Anion Exchange Membranes using recycled membranes as support for water treatment: towards the circular economy approach

Presenter: Amaia Lejarazu-Larrañaga

Affiliation: Membrane Technology research group at IMDEA Water institute (Madrid, Spain)

Abstract: In this webinar, a new methodology for the preparation of Ion Exchange Membranes, using discarded Reverse Osmosis membranes as mechanical support will be presented. These novel membranes have been prepared by casting a polymeric mixture on the pretreated surface of the discarded Reverse Osmosis membrane. The resulting membranes have been tested in desalination by electrodialysis, selective electro-separation, Donnan Dialysis and Ion Exchange Membrane Bioreactor processes. This research could open an alternative within the recycling of discarded Reverse Osmosis membranes, avoiding landfilling and moving membrane technology into a circular economy.

Speaker Short biography: Amaia Lejarazu-Larrañaga is a PhD candidate working in Membrane Technology research group at IMDEA Water institute (Madrid, Spain). Her main research activities are focused on membrane recycling, preparation of ion exchange membranes, membrane characterization and evaluation of membrane performance, selective separation, Electrodialysis, Donnan Dialysis and Ion Exchange Membrane Bioreactor processes.



Greetings to all EMS members from the new EMS council

With the on-line meeting held on Monday, 8th February 2021, the new EMS council for the next 2 years started to work on scheduled tasks from the old council and the development of new ideas. More to come in the next months!

In the meantime, the new EMS Council want to give greeting all EMS members, and to gratefully acknowledge the great work of the departing members (Carla Portugal, Davide Mattia, Frank Lipnizki, Luboš Novák, Maria-Chiara Ferrari).

The actual EMS Council is so formed:

EMS President - Anthony Szymczyk

EMS Vice President(s) - Maria Grazia De Angelis, Alexey Volkov

EMS Council Secretary - Elena Tocci

EMS Treasurer - Maria Grazia De Angelis

EMS Council Members - Alexey Volkov, Anthony Szymczyk, Carla Brazinha, Elena Tocci, Eric Favre, Ilya Vorotyntsev, Karel Friess, Marco Stoller, Maria Grazia De Angelis



Wednesday February 3rd 4:00 PM (CET)
Title: Sustainable Membrane Production through Polyelectrolyte Complexation Induced Aqueous Phase Separation
Presenter: Muhammad Irshad Baig
Affiliation: Membrane Surface Science, University of Twente, The Netherlands
Nonsolvent induced phase separation (NIPS) is the most common approach to produce polymeric membranes. Unfortunately, NIPS relies heavily on aprotic organic solvents like N‐
methyl‐pyrrolidone to produce the membranes. These solvents are unsustainable, repro‐toxic for humans and have therefore been restricted within the European Union [1]. A new and sustainable method, aqueous phase separation (APS), is presented that eliminates the use of organic solvents. Polymeric membranes can be prepared entirely in water using this new APS method. A homogeneous solution of two polyelectrolytes, the strong polyanion poly(sodium 4‐styrenesulfonate) (PSS) and the weak polycation poly(allylamine hydrochloride) (PAH), is prepared at high pH, where PAH is uncharged. Immersing a film of this solution in a low pH bath charges the PAH and results in the formation of a porous, water-insoluble polyelectrolyte complex. The rate of precipitation can be controlled by a number of parameters for instance, polyelectrolyte solution concentration and pH of the bath. The pore sizes can be tuned from micrometers to just a few nanometers, and even to dense films, simply by tuning the
polyelectrolyte concentrations, molecular weights, and the salinity of the bath. This leads to excellent examples of microfiltration, ultrafiltration, and nanofiltration type membranes.
Similarly, using different types of polyelectrolytes it is possible to produce polymeric membranes in mild pH conditions. A mixture of PSS and Polyethyleneimine (PEI) can be cast at pH 4 to obtain dense nanofiltration type membranes with molecular weight cut-off ~200 g·mol–1. Polyelectrolyte complexation induced APS is indeed a viable and sustainable approach to membrane production that provides excellent control over membrane properties and even allows new types of separations.

In memoriam Prof. C.A. (Kees) Smolders


The EMS mourns the loss of Professor Kees Smolders, Honorary Member of our Society since 1991, who passed away on 4 January 2021 at the age of 90.


Kees Smolders was a true pioneer in the field of Membrane Technology. He worked as a full professor between 1969 and 1991 at the THT (‘Technische Hogeschool Twente’), renamed to UT (University of Twente) in 1986. While he started out as a professor in Colloid and Interface Chemistry, he was one of the first in the Netherlands to focus on a new field: the field of membranes. He was unique in his persuasiveness, making many others, scientists and businesses alike, enthusiastic for a field of science that was very new at the time. He quickly became a leading scientist in this field, especially through his work on understanding phase inversion that still has a high number of citations to this day. Kees Smolders was one of the first professors to co-operate with companies actively: he was, for example, actively involved in the start-up of X-Flow in the eighties, helping the UT to establish itself as the entrepreneurial university that it is today. Kees Smolders supervised nearly 40 PhD students. The research that he started more than 50 years ago is still actively continued at the UT within the current Membrane Science and Technology (MST) cluster.

After his retirement, he picked up painting, using acrylates, and later he also took up bronze sculpting. In 2016, Kees Smolders donated one of his works of art, appropriately named “The Science Ladder”, to the UT, which is still proudly exhibited in one of the University buildings. The sculpture shows a small man climbing up a double DNA helix. Kees Smolders described it in his own words: “It shows how you can grow in science. Scientists always want to climb to the top, to build up the best reputation.”

Professor Kees Smolders will be remembered a visionary scientist and one of the initiators of membrane research in Europe. The EMS whishes his family, friends and the Membrane Science and Technology cluster at the University of Twente all strength to deal with this loss.