Perspective on 3D printing of separation membranes and comparison to related unconventional fabrication techniques

Ze Xian Low, Yen Chua, Brian Ray, Davide Mattia, Ian S Metcalfe, Darrell Patterson

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316 Citations (SciVal)
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Additive manufacturing, likewise known as 3-dimensional (3D) printing and rapid prototyping, has the ability to create almost any geometrically complex shape or feature in a range of materials across different scales. It has found its applications in various areas, such as medicine (bioprinting), art, manufacturing and engineering. On the other hand, its use in separation membrane engineering is relatively new. The use of additive manufacturing techniques could provide more control towards the design of separation membrane systems and offers novel membrane preparation techniques that are able to produce membranes of different shapes, types and designs which cannot be made using conventional techniques such as phase inversion or sintering. Here we provide key background information on 3D printing technologies and applications in membrane engineering; a discussion of the potential and limitations of current 3D printing technologies for membrane engineering and future aspects of the technology. Due to the potential benefits of 3D printing in membrane manufacturing, in particular the unprecedented control over membrane architecture the technique could allow, the use of 3D printing in membrane systems should see significant growth in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-613
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Early online date8 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • 3D printing
  • additive manufacturing
  • subtractive manufacturing
  • membrane
  • separation
  • rapid prototyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Filtration and Separation
  • General Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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