Klaus-Viktor Peinemann

29 Aug 2012

Klaus-Viktor Peinemann is Professor of Chemical Engineering in the division of Chemical and Life Sciences and Engineering at KAUST in Saudi Arabia. Before joining KAUST  he worked at the Helmholtz Research Center in Geesthacht, Germany. There he was for 15 years Head of the Department “Membrane Development”.  In this position he directed numerous large research projects and was involved in the development of many new materials and membrane types.  In this field he has more than 85 papers in international scientific journals, 160 papers in conferences and is co-editor of four books. He is named as inventor in 25 national and international patents. He was co-founder of the membrane company GMT Membrantechnik in Rheinfelden, Germany, which is today a successful company in Europe active in the field of production of membranes for gas and vapor separation.

Dr. Peinemann is Honorary Professor at the Leibniz University of Hannover and he served as President of the European Membrane Society. He belongs to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Membrane Science and he is member of the European and the North American Membrane Society.


How to invent new membranes

If one wants to learn how to invent new useful membranes, it is a good starting point to study well-known break-through membrane patents. Famous examples are the Loeb-Sourirajan asymmetric desalination membrane, the Henis-Tripodi multicomponent gas separation membrane and the Cadotte reverse osmosis membrane.  It is inspiring not only to study the actual patents, but to analyze the activities which finally resulted in the discovery.  In some cases the building blocks of a discovery are already there and all what is required is to put them together or to make small modifications. In this context we will analyze the history of the phase-inversion process and the interfacial polymerization. In many cases serendipity – the knack of finding things not sought for - plays a major role.  The Henis-Tripodi multicomponent gas separation membrane and the Gore-Tex membrane are examples here. These inventions were accidental, but it was not blind luck, which led to these discoveries. “Chance favors only the prepared mind” is a famous quote of Louis Pasteur, who made break-through discoveries in chemistry and microbiology.

The ultimate goal of this lecture is to prepare your mind for future discoveries in the membrane field.