Nidal Hilal is the Director of Centre for Clean Water Technologies at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, he has developed in the last 10 years a successful research portfolio and established a wide range of international research collaborations. He has over 150 publications to his credit and his work has been published widely in journals, international proceedings, textbooks and invited book chapters. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) from the University of Wales last year in recognition of his outstanding research contribution in the fields of membrane technology and application of AFM to chemical and process engineering.
He is the winner of Kuwait Prize of Applied Science in the Arab world for the year 2005, the award was for his innovative development work in water technology. This award is one of the highest honours given in Kuwait for intellectual achievement.
Hilal’s particular interest is the identification of innovative and cost-effective solutions to real world engineering problems. His early research concentrated on heat transfer and the scaling-up of fluidized beds. He subsequently extended his investigations into other areas including membrane separation and colloid engineering. His current research focuses on novel membrane separation processes, membrane nanotechnology, advanced water treatment, desalination and quantification of nano-scale forces in chemical and process engineering. He is particularly recognized as a leading international expert in the development and application of the force measurement capability of AFM to the study of membrane surfaces.
To date, the highlights of his research have been the development of: the smallest AFM colloid probe reported in the literature, the AFM coated colloid probe technique and the unique AFM cell probe technique. The use of such probes has made possible, for the first time, direct measurement of the force of adhesion of coated colloid or microbiological cells in a direction normal to the surface at which the interaction was taking place. The huge potential of these techniques was demonstrated when they were used to assess the adhesive characteristics (fouling) of synthetic ultrafiltration membranes used in water industry. The approach correctly identified membranes with low fouling properties and introduced the concept of using AFM in the development of novel surfaces, prior to costly pilot plant procedures. Other significant highlights are development of (bio)fouling resistant membranes for use in water treatment, development of imprinted membranes and lipaz membranes, characterization and modelling of nanofiltration membranes. His most recent breakthrough is the development of a unique AFM-HSMP technique that combines AFM force-distance measurements with ultra-high speed micrography to study rheology and extensional fluid properties published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society – London. This is the first time that an AFM as been adapted for use as a nano-viscometer. The above techniques have widespread application in process optimisation and the development of novel processes.
Full details about Nidal Hilal’s research can be seen on: