Skip to main content

During 2021 we will continue to support students who need to study remotely due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and travel restrictions. Make sure you check the location code when selecting a unit outline or choosing your units of study in Sydney Student. Find out more about what these codes mean. Both remote and on-campus locations have the same learning activities and assessments, however teaching staff may vary. More information about face-to-face teaching and assessment arrangements for each unit will be provided on Canvas.

Unit of study_

CHNG5601: Membrane Science

"Membrane Science" provides background in the physics and electrochemistry of a variety of synthetic membranes used in industry as well as cellular membranes. The course aims to develop students' understanding of: - membrane self-assembly and manufacture; - membrane separation processes such as filtration, desalination, ion exchange and water-splitting; - and techniques for membrane characterisation and monitoring.


Academic unit Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Unit code CHNG5601
Unit name Membrane Science
Session, year
Semester 1, 2021
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Remote
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Zongwen Liu,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Assignments
60% Multiple weeks Two weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment hurdle task Final exam
Taking home and open book exam
40% Week 12 2 weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
  • Assignment 1 will focus on statistics and entropy. This assignment is worth 15% of your overall assessment. 
  • Assignment 2 will focus on osmosis membranes and applications. This assignment is worth 15% of your overall assessment. 
  • Assignment 3 will focus on membrane fouling due to concentration polarisation. This assignment is worth 15% of your overall assessment.
  • Assignment 4 will focus on electrochemical analysis of bipolar membranes. This assignment is worth 15% of your overall assessment. 
  • Final assignment will be an open-book abd taking home assignment comprised of several questions covering the course work. Answers will be hand written except for software programs, tables and graphs generated from software, e.g. spread sheets. A student must get 40% in the final assignment to pass the unit, regardless of the sum of his/her individual marks.


Each assignment and the final exam are to be completed and submitted within 2 weeks.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Membranes: Intermolecular and interfacial forces (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Introduction to bio-, ultra-, micro-, nano- and osmosis membranes (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 02 Relationship between entropy, temperature, pressure and volume (2 hr) LO1
Relationship between entropy chemical potential, concentration and temperature (2 hr) LO1
Week 03 Thermodynamics of solutions and osmosis (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Interfacial energy density and surface tension (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 04 Hydraulic conduction through pores (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Membrane materials and manufacture (2 hr) LO5
Week 05 Performance evaluation of micro- and ultra- filtration membranes (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Concentration polarisation and fouling (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Reverse osmosis membranes (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Pressure retarded membranes and systems (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 Forward osmosis membranes and systems (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Drift and diffusion of neutral molecules through membranes (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Electrostatic properties of charged molecules, ions, electrodes and membranes (2 hr) LO4
Drift and diffusion of charged molecules in membrane systems (2 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Electrostatic properties of metal and reference electrodes (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Electrostatic properties of reverse osmosis, ion exchange and bipolar membranes (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Membrane potentials and measurements (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Characterisation of ion-exchange membranes from current-voltage measurements (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Week 11 Bipolar membranes and water splitting (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Hydrogen and Ceramic Fuel Cells (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Revision of course material requested by students (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

  • R. K. Hobbie, Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology. John Wiley
  • W. Ho and K. K. Sirkar, Membrane Handbook Part VIII Microfiltration. Chapman Hall Plus
  • B. Nölting, Methods in Modern Biophysics. Springer
  • H. G. L. Coster, Thermodynamics of Life Processes. UNSPress (Library reference only)
  • “Intermolecular and surface forces”, Israelachvili, Elsevier

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand and interpret the physico-chemical basis of new developments in membrane technology for industrial and biomedical purposes
  • LO2. monitor membrane processes in context and evaluate membrane functionality
  • LO3. demonstrate knowledge of the physical and physico-chemical basis of membrane processes
  • LO4. use quantitative descriptions of ionic transport in synthetic membranes
  • LO5. categorise assembly processes in the manufacturing processes of synthetic membranes.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
No significant changes have been made since this unit was last offered


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.