Explore the Nano World 

 Wen's Research Group​

Wen Zhang, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE

Principal Investigator

Phone: (973) 596-5520 
Fax: (973) 596-5790
Email: wen.zhang@njit.edu

Office Location: Colton Hall 211

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Dr. Zhang’s research group recently received an EPA P3 Phase II grant (award#: 84041901) to support the proposed research on Microwave-Catalytic Membrane for PFAS Degradation and Antiviral Applications 

The EPA P3 Phase II research will exploit a suite of novel high-performance microwave-responsive catalysts to devise functional microwave-enhanced liquid filtration systems. The first objective will be the fabrication and characterization of a suite of V2O5/Co3O4@rGO nanocomposites with respect to their microwave adsorption performance and mechanisms. The second objective is to experimentally examine the microwave penetration into the membrane modules, water and catalyst layers, followed by complementary Multiphysics COMSOL simulation to predict the results that are difficult to obtain experimentally. Moreover, capability of viral inactivation in microwave assisted membrane filtration system will be tested. The catalyst coated microwave-assisted membrane filtration is expected to enhance the viral removal or inactivation compared to the same filtration process without catalyst or microwave irradiation, which leads to microwave catalysis reactions and viral inactivation.
The value propositions that we anticipate include:
(1) This catalytically reactive membrane separation process will reach higher treatment efficiencies toward recalcitrant micropollutants such as in contaminated groundwater.
(2) Microwave irradiation reduces membrane fouling and thus saves operational cost for chemicals or water for foulant removal or membrane replacement.
(3) This process can be fabricated in modular, scalable and tailorable membrane modules to vary the treatment capacities in decentralized wastewater systems.
(4) This chemical-free treatment can largely reduce the chemical residuals in treated water and secondary pollution.

The presented membrane technology also will support air or gas pollutant removal (e.g., airborne pathogens and volatile organic compounds) and purify or separate those undesirable or harmful substances from the indoor air or industrial emission gases though the microwave driven thermal heating and catalytic reactions on the functionalized membrane filter surface.
This project will support Dr. Zhang’s doctoral student (Fangzhou Liu) and other team members (e.g, undergraduate student: Ashley Suthammanont and Richard Barrezueta, and high school student: Saachi Kuthari) to carry out this project for two years from 2022 to 2023.
The introductory videos for Microwave-assisted membrane filtration system and microwave-assisted air filtration system, and the tutorial video of double layer agar method for the counting of Bacteriophage MS2 are shown below:
1. Double Layer Agar method for MS2 counting:
2. MW air filtration system:
3. MW water filtration system:
From left to right: Fangzhou Liu, Richard Barrezueta and Ashley Suthammanont